Where Light Meets Water


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About the Author

Susan Paterson is a writer and editor from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her debut novel, Where Light Meets Water, was shortlisted in an earlier version for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel and written with the assistance of a Varuna Fellowship. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications including Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, Etchings, Wet Ink and Poetry NZ. She lives in Naarm/Melbourne.


'A love story wrapped in a novel about painting and the sea, which, just like a painting, builds layer upon layer to create a satisfying whole. A stunning debut novel that is both lyrical and full of beauty. The shifting setting moves effortlessly around the Victorian globe, from Scotland to London, to Australia and ultimately to the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island. The combination of strong characters and the passions that both bind and separate them is masterfully done.'
*NZ Booklovers Awards*

‘An extraordinary debut. Paterson has given art, and the sea, a new language, and reminds us that love and grief never live alone.’
*Kristina Olsson, acclaimed author of Shell and Boy, Lost*

'This book is utterly magnificent. Susan Paterson is a wonder.’
*Eliza Henry-Jones, acclaimed author of Salt and Skin*

‘Susan Paterson’s Where Light Meets Water is a lyrical and gripping historical fiction novel that traverses nineteenth-century Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and the oceans that join and separate them. Paterson’s always insightful writing explores divisions of privilege and class, tensions between freedom and duty, through the eyes of an artist and sailor’s twin passions for paintbrush and sea. The author’s luminous prose masterfully evokes the smells, tastes and textures of Victorian landscapes, parlours and stormy ship decks and is sure to delight and dazzle readers … Seductive language and provocative story engage universal themes of exile and sacrifice, and love and loss, through a self-taught artist’s quest for acceptance, his quest to find his true place in the world and the meaning of his brilliant paintings.’
*Melissa Ashley, bestselling author of The Birdman’s Wife*

‘Where Light Meets Water is a shimmering, beautiful and deftly told story. Charting the course of one man's life, it delicately explores the intersections between art, passion, love and duty. Insightful and resonant; full of evocative imagery – I enjoyed this book so much. Where Light Meets Water is a thought-provoking novel and a compelling tale that stayed with me long after I read the final page.’
*Michelle Scott Tucker, acclaimed author of Elizabeth Macarthur*

‘Where Light Meets Water is a story about love – of the sea, of art, and of a woman. It is a story about equals at a time when equality was impossible, and Susan Paterson has told it with great compassion and insight. Susan Paterson wields her pen like an artist’s brush and the result is beautiful and evocative.’
*Pip Williams, bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Words*

‘Moving, tender and beautifully written: this is a splendidly engaging tale of the inner lives of artists and the spoken and unspoken worlds of their complicated love.’ 
*Gail Jones, award-winning author of Five Bells and Salonika Burning*

‘The swells and rhythms of the sea – and of the human heart – suffuse every page. Perfectly paced and sumptuously visual, Where Light Meets Water is a stunning debut.’
*Catherine Chidgey, award-winning author of Remote Sympathy and The Axeman’s Carnival*

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