The Dark Flood Rises

The Dark Flood Rises

Book - 2016
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From the great British novelist Dame Margaret Drabble comes a vital and audacious tale about the many ways in which we confront aging and living in a time of geopolitical rupture.

Francesca Stubbs has an extremely full life. A highly regarded expert on housing for the elderly who is herself getting on in age, she drives "restlessly round England," which is "her last love . . . She wants to see it all before she dies." Amid the professional conferences that dominate her schedule, she fits in visits to old friends, brings home cooked dinners to her ailing ex-husband, texts her son, who is grieving over the shocking death of his girlfriend, and drops in on her daughter, a quirky young woman who lives in a flood plain in the West Country. Fran cannot help but think of her mortality, but she is "not ready to settle yet, with a cat upon her knee." She still prizes her "frisson of autonomy," her belief in herself as a dynamic individual doing meaningful work in the world.

The Dark Flood Rises moves between Fran's interconnected group of family and friends in England and a seemingly idyllic expat community in the Canary Islands. In both places, disaster looms. In Britain, the flood tides are rising, and in the Canaries, there is always the potential for a seismic event. As well, migrants are fleeing an increasingly war-torn Middle East.

Though The Dark Flood Rises delivers the pleasures of a traditional novel, it is clearly situated in the precarious present. Margaret Drabble's latest enthralls, entertains, and asks existential questions in equal measure. Alas, there is undeniable truth in Fran's insight: "Old age, it's a fucking disaster "

Publisher: Edinburgh :, Canongate Books,, 2016
ISBN: 9781432839505
Branch Call Number: FIC DRA
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 20, 2018

Margaret Drabble writes cleverly and ruminates beautifully about individual characters coming to terms with the limitations brought on by aging. Unfortunately, it became too much of a good thing, especially the numerous and often repetitive cataloguing of academic pursuits. (Aside from A.S. Byatt's Posession, I can't think of a novel comprised of characters from liberal arts academia that is truly compelling.) There is some intriguing "foreshadowing" toward the end that creates a bit of suspense, but the only really interesting character is Fran. It also bothered me that the male characters were all one-dimensionally self-centered. And I felt a sinister undercurrent in all of the Canary Island scenes, though nothing concrete materialized.

Mar 01, 2018

The Dark Flood Rises, a title that implies we inhabit a boggy personal landscape, a flood plain of sorts, subject to inevitable capitulation. How long are we able to keep high and dry? Drabble scripts train of thought ruminations by heterogeneous characters that, at the same time, are all interlinked to one another as colleagues, friends, family; the pervading commonality being dwelling in the latter stages of one's allotted span, or involved with someone who is. As we assess our dwindling opportunity at life, what prevails: worthwhile experiences, remorse, onwards and upwards (not done yet!), an uneventful gentle glide to a final landing? This novel configures a quirky, evocative composition that reminds the reader that although every day counts, our individual valuation metrics differ.

Jul 14, 2017

Way too wordy, interior. Couldn't figure out transitions; in a word, unreadable.

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