Ambling Along
the Aqueduct

The Cascadia
Subduction Zone

The Aqueduct Bulletin

Subscribe to our

Catalog for 2023

Our Mission


PO Box 95787
Seattle, WA 98145-2787

The Language of Water

by Elizabeth Clark-Stern

$19 (paperback)
$7.95 (e-book) EPUB
 Add to Cart

Read a sample from the book.

The dawn of the twenty-second century finds women in a new world where water—the lack of it or the over-abundance of it—shapes their inner and outer lives. Sara turns eighteen and longs to join the all-women’s Kurdish army to wrestle control of the headwaters of the Euphrates River from the grip of Turkiye’s first woman President, who calls herself “Ataturka.” These two women share a common enemy that has infected the globe: climate despair. And yet, in the darkest hour there is cause for hope. A new technology born of the secret substances of the Earth could transform the planet. Only the power structures of humanity stand in the way. Can Sara and Ataturka help one another create a new form of power defined by the depth and scope of their hearts, or will the Water War bitterly divide them? Will their passion for life, for love, for a world where all living things can flourish pull them down into the darkest cavern of the human soul or catapult them to the stars?

Advance Praise

"Elizabeth Clark-Stern has created a marvelous adventure that takes us into a mysterious future where the climate is out of control. Her characters vibrate with creativity, passion, and imagination as they bring an evolving world to life."
 —Beverly Olevin, Kirkus Award-winner for The Good Side of Bad

"I found this novel's complex characters and the richness of their relationships—in love and in war—tremendously compelling. Sara, Kethuda, Ruqia, and the rest of the cast are skillfully drawn. A story about the future devastation wrought by climate change has the potential to be a grim read, but instead Elizabeth Clark-Stern has written a gripping feminist tale exploring love and power, violence and forgiveness, despair and hope. The Language of Water is a page-turner and a paean to resistance."
 —Gwynne Garfinkle, author of Can't Find My Way Home

"The diverse ensemble of characters in Elizabeth Clark-Stern’s debut novel includes royalty and subsistence farmers, teens and the elderly, fierce warriors, and dedicated pacifists. Each character is compelling, complex, and struggling with the types of difficult decisions that can shatter souls. But the core protagonist in the novel, the only one truly powerful, is the natural environment.
    The action takes place in 2100, when climate change has created extremes in the global distribution of, and access to, water. The divide between Haves and Have Nots is an ever-­widening chasm. Regional conflicts sparked by dwindling natural resources are rampant. Agriculturalists have developed a plant, the pea cactus, that grows in harsh environments and can be processed into a variety of goods, but worsening floods and periods of drought make this, at best, a last-gasp measure.
    It is a world severely out of balance, but not quite out of hope. Clark-Stern captures the inflection point toward which we are barreling at break-neck speed, the moment when humans—having contorted ourselves to our limits in a desperate effort to maintain life as it was before climate change—are forced to decide if we want to die clinging to old ways or give up illusions of power and embrace something new.
    The Language of Water is a balm for nerves frayed by the fear of impending environmental disaster and a bracing vision of how balance might be restored to our off-kilter world."
 —Kate Boyes, author of Trapped in the R.A.W.

ISBN: 978-1-61976-234-3 (13 digit)
Publication Date: May 2023
paperback 320 pages