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!"