Rivers Remember is Krupa’s narrative non fiction debut on the Chennai floods of 2015. It was published by Context, an imprint of Westland, in July 2019. Buy the book here.
Praise for the Book
Krupa Ge’s… ‘Rivers Remember’ (on the Chennai floods 2015) is an absolute must read. Well written and carefully researched, it brings home the full horror of the catastrophe. This is what the future holds for many cities around the world.
In December 2015, a city drowned when forgotten rivers and built-over lakes came back to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. Weaving together Krupa’s own harrowing experience of the floods with that of others whose lives were forever changed, Rivers Remember also meticulously traces the why and how of what happened. Taut and incisive, this is a cautionary tale that serves to remind us we can only abuse nature so much, while telling the larger story of how urban planning works across India.
A powerful book that speaks truth to power, and such important reading in a city where life is wedded to its water history.
Arvind Subramanian (Former Chief Economic Advisor)
Chennai’s history, tradition, culture and people are vital to the idea of a rich, diverse India. The floods that ravaged this great city should never be forgotten to continually remind us of the stakes and hence our responsibilities. Combining historical documents, first-person accounts, interviews and government reports, this painstakingly researched book makes an important contribution to keeping such memories alive.
The Cooum, Adayar and Kosasthalayar rivers carry within their dark waters the future, present and the past of their city—Chennai. In December 2015, that city drowned. From deep within those unforgiving waters, Krupa Ge recovers stories, memories and truths of despair, nostalgia, neglect, discrimination, hope, tragedy, corruption, death and life. Through this telling, she warns us of a dystopian future where 2015 comes to stay, even as the death knell gets louder.
Nisha Susan, Firstpost
…It is this job of contributing to the cultural memory of the disastrous Chennai floods of December 2015 that Krupa Ge’s book does with deceptive simplicity and barely suppressed rage – read full review in Firstpost.
Supriya Nair, Mumbai Mirror
I was more struck yet by how simply and movingly it documents something that’s very little written about – our own ordinary, shifting, inadequate but real emotional battle to come to terms with what is happening to us – read full piece in Mumbai Mirror.
Urvashi Bahuguna, Open Magazine
Ge’s work is that rare slow reportage that could be instructive to multiple stakeholders in present-day India if they allowed it to be. It’s one of the strongest works of narrative non-fiction to come out of India recently—elevating reportage with nuanced, even-keeled writing that tells the story of a place as much as of an event – read full review in Open.
Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta, The Indian Express
In a powerful, poetic narrative that moves between individual stories and the story of a city’s drowning, Ge describes the unspeakable hollowing out of lives – read full review in The Indian Express
Ramya Kannan, The Hindu
A touching story about the people who suffered, rendered, at times lyrically, poetic as a gently flowing river, and then, with cold facts, cold as the waters that swirled the muck into homes – read full review in The Hindu
Sudhirender Sharma, Hindustan Times
Piecing together the collective failure of the authorities to protect its inhabitants from an avoidable tragedy in Chennai, Krupa Ge brings to life the agony of the trapped in a touching account of those unforgiving waters of the city rivers, relentless in reclaiming their rights over their course in Rivers Remember – read full review in Hindustan Times.
M.R. Venkatesh, Asian Age
…Elegantly blends reflections, reportage, slices from history and moving personal accounts of several of those who suffered the tragedy – read full review in Asian Age.
Himanshu Upadhyaya, Citizen Matters
…For the sake of creating awareness of ground realities among the people, may the tribe of those nameless auditors who studied the Chennai Floods 2015 under the CAG of India and wrote an eminently valuable stand-alone report, as well as of authors like Krupa Ge, grow – read full review in Citizen Matters
B.R.P. Bhaskar, The Tribune
This book holds valuable lessons for people everywhere – read full review in The Tribune
Uttaran Das Gupta, Business Standard
Amartya Sen has asserted in his writings that famines cannot occur in countries with a free press. After reading Ms Ge’s book, we can also assert that floods cannot occur in a country with a free press — and the absence of one makes us vulnerable – read full review in Business Standard
Varsha Venugopal, Madras Musings
‘Rivers Remember’ is a book that every Chennai vaasi must read – Krupa’s fierce love for the city shines through its pages. It leaves one feeling uneasy, with the author’s meticulous, data-backed research warning us that the root causes of the flood still hang over our heads like the Sword of Damocles – read full review in Madras Musings