Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them – her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet – seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes?
By turns joyous and profound, darkly sardonic and moving, The Dark Flood Rises questions what makes a good life, and a good death. This triumphant, bravura novel takes in love, death, sun-drenched islands, poetry, Maria Callas, tidal waves, surprise endings – and new beginnings.
About the author
Dame Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939 and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She is the author of nineteen novels including A Summer Bird-Cage, The Millstone, The Peppered Moth, The Red Queen, The Sea Lady, The Pure Gold Baby and The Dark Flood Rises. She has also written biographies, screenplays and was the editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature. She was appointed CBE in 1980, and made DBE in the 2008 Honours list. She was also awarded the 2011 Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.
The book deals with ageing and death but is by no means all gloom. The protagonist, Fran, is in her seventies, still fit and working, but very aware of encroaching disability and death. Margaret Drabble, herself now in old age, shows us through a wide range of characters, many ways of confronting old age and death, and although the subject is gloomy, there is plenty of humour to lighten it and it makes a very good read indeed.