by Margaret Drabble (Canongate Books) ISBN: 9781782118312
I chose this because I remembered reading some of her novels many moons ago. There’s a rich selection to go back to, now that I’ve been reminded of what a fine writer she is.
The Dark Flood Rises is a strange book – a kind of “stream of consciousness” inner conversation revealing the lead character’s frame of mind. Fran is “too old to die young”, and faces her dotage with a sense of revolt by doing the kind of things most people don’t approve of.
She’s far more likely to die in a car crash as she rushes around the English countryside in in her ancient jalopy, investigating care homes for the aged. Death is never far from her mind, but she has a complex view on this strange journey, sometimes darkly sardonic, and sometimes extremely funny. Her references are richly literary – not surprising since the author is the editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature.
The author has taken a rather depressing theme and given it so much light, life, biting humour and wisdom that I was surprised to find I had rather enjoyed it.
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