After the Flood
An inventive and riveting epic saga, After the Flood signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.
A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.
Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.
On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.
A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, action packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder—an affecting and wholly original saga both redemptive and astonishing.
Title: After the Flood
Author: Kassandra Montag
Genres: Fiction / Post-Apocalyptic
Hardcover, 432 pages
Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2019
Publishing House: William and Morrow Publishing
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0062889362 (ISBN13: 9780062889362)
Edition Language: English
The cover of this novel does not reveal the real despair hidden in these pages. As a matter of fact, the cover should have been a bit more foretelling of the treacherous disaster that awaits. So, jumping into reading and not checking the blurb first, it had me wondering at first, and later not expecting it to be what it is. Because it became so much more!
Meet Myra, mother of two girls left alone in an Alaskan (-ish) landscape fending to trade goods for basic living necessities. She's been alone with Pearl ever since her husband took off with her first daughter Row, and her father committed suicide in despair of the living conditions.
Raised by her grandfather who had all the stories to tell of life before the 100 Year Flood that destroyed their area, he passed down many of his handy skills to Myra, like fishing, making, fixing and restoring boats and rafts and handy skills to fix living quarters and woodworks. A local old lady at the nearest trading post had watched her since she was little and taught her the tricks of the trade, in bartering.
Imagine a landscape where living is so dire, that people take a chance on rafts and boats to escape. There are no phones, cars or other aids that make life comfortable. Trees and animals are gone and only fish, birds and snakes are to be had. Humanity has been forced to live a simpler but far more dangerous life albeit the knowledge of modern age. Resources are scarce and the flood keeps creeping up the coastline taking away more and more land. Many are forced to risk an exit of the area in boats or end their lives in despair. The pirates and raiders out at sea are who they all fear.
Myra's husband took her daughter away in a boat as she was left to watch and fear. There are breeder ships that will take young girls to produce offspring for trade and pirate gangs. As time passes and Pearl has become a great companion to her mother, Myra makes a discovery that might lead her to her missing daughter.
Taking a risk with new friends, Myra sets out fiercely to go on the long journey to rescue Row. Not without deceit and or being deceived. As the treacherous way becomes more and more deadly, she has to decide if holding on to the imagination of holding her older daughter again in her arms, hasn't been an illusion that she risked Pearls' and her lives for.
In the end, there's nothing stronger than the call of a child a mother must find. Will it be too late?
Yes, uff-da, I know! I had no idea this book was going to be like this. The cover deceived me ;) but I am not unhappy about it at all. Montag did a great job to make this entire story linger with nuggets of riveting moments and despair. I enjoyed how people were presented going back to the basics as we know it from history. Making fires, using skins, building boats, making something out of nothing.
The writing bode a sense of historical fiction for an apocalyptic novel and I dug it. It made it really approachable to read, not like some Sci-Fi style books I've read with a futuristic take on the apocalypse.
The plot unfolded slowly but was unpredictable. This kept the reader reminded of the struggles of the day to day living and developed the characters thoroughly. The scope and places this novel took were almost epic. So many things that went wrong, so many moments that changed everything. Three steps forward, two steps back!
This book doesn't end very clearly nor unsatisfying. It feels like a continuation of it all is to be interpreted by the reader. It does lend room for thoughts of the what-if questions, but also to the characters encountered and their decisions. Would I have done what Myra did?
This may have given a glimpse into what I meant with "so much more". It's an adventurous epic journey that kept me reading riveted as if the flood was near!
Give it a try :)