The short story “The Way of Water” by Nina Munteanu was published for the first time in 2016.
Hilda goes to the public water tap but when at last it’s her turn, after an hour of waiting, her Water Card gets rejected. Hilda just has some sad memories of the past and above her mother’s stories when she explained how water was managed before climate change and before it became a Canada Corp’s property.
“The Way of Water” is set in a near future in which Canada has to deal with both climate and geo-political changes. The nation got involved in the USA decay when it was basically bought by China. The story is focused on the problem of water, which has become private property of a company called Canada Corp so citizens must pay its use and can’t pick it up, even rainwater.
Through Hilda’s story we discover the consequences of such a state of affairs. Nina Munteanu tells how snow is a memory now far and how water rationing laws are enforced strictly. Hilda’s mother, a limnologist who taught at the university, was arrested for her illegal activities connected to water.
Hilda’s memories also concern Hanna, with whom she started a strange relationship first virtual and later in person. Hilda’s various personal relationships are mixed with those of the human characters with water, which in some ways is the true protagonist of the story. Emotions and feelings are still crucial in the plot as much as water.
In a short story in which every word has its weight, Nina Munteanu manages to describe a dystopia with ecological, political, social and economic elements and Hilda’s reactions to her situation with a great emotional intensity. To avoid thirst, Hilda ends up embracing an extreme idea, a last hope linked to water.
“The Way of Water” is a story of the kind you hope is science fiction but you fear is not. Those who think that Nina Munteanu’s future vision is exaggerated can read her essay “The Story of Water”, which contains a number of ideas that inspired the short story.
“The Story of Water” contains both historical information on water management by ancient civilizations and recent news stories. Those news are the ones disturbing because they suggest a future like the one described in “The Way of Water”. They concern a global issue with the possibility that after wars for oil there will be wars for water and local cases in which steps were taken to turn water from a public good to a private commodity.
Nina Munteanu herself noted the complexity of the situation, for example because various USA states have different laws that are changed with in time. Many things can happen in the near future but there are some negative developments regarding water. All this makes “The Way of Water” and “The Story of Water” very interesting to read and keep in mind. Both are included in an ebook available on Amazon USA, Amazon UK and Amazon Canada.