Francesca Stubbs holds our hand as we take a walk through old age and death. Fran brings us to drinks with her friends, dropping off suppers for her ex-husband, warm and cosy in his infirmity. She visits her daughter, holed up as the waters rise in a sodden West Country, and texts her son in Lanzarote, as he deals with the estate of his deceased girlfriend.
The questions of what constitutes a good death preoccupy this glittering novel. The Dark Flood Rises asks momentous questions as it entertains and enthralls. In her beautifully imagined new novel, Margaret Drabble is at her incisive best, exploring the end of life with her trademark humour, composure and wisdom.
‘Margaret Drabble’s meditation on old age and death is erudite, beautifully written, funny, tragic and definitely not for anyone over 60 who prefers an ostrich approach to the future.’
‘Masterly, poignant and uplifting.’
‘A thoughtful and deep book…[Drabble’s] sharp intelligence and the wisdom of her remarkable life are laid out clearly and provokingly here. You could not find a better guide for the final journey.’
‘An often exhilarating read. Speaking once more for her generation, Drabble has composed a quirky tribute to those “bravely battling on”.’
‘[Drabble] applies her signature humour, compassion and wisdom to deliberate on what constitutes a good life and a good death, from the viewpoint of the old and the bereaved.’
‘Engaging, informative, thoughtful and smart on detail…Hooray for Margaret Drabble.’
‘[A] supremely wise novel…It’s a quiet epic…Drabble’s intricate mosaic of observation, meditation, and affectionate humour suggests that if there are answers, they lie in small things. Call no man happy until he dies, goes the old saying: but perhaps the odd moment of happiness can be enough.’
‘As Drabble unfolds the interweaving stories of her cast, most of them in their seventies, she gently and adroitly brings them all to moving, poignant life…I don’t think anyone has written better about old age as we know it now…Drabble’s new work is to be welcomed, appreciated and celebrated.’
‘The Dark Flood Rises pulls no punches about the indignities of “getting on”, lightened by brilliant writing and good humour.’
‘An extraordinary jewel of a book…This is a work by a master of fiction and every library and school should rush to get a copy. It is a summation of what a woman of exceptional achievement and intelligence knows about writing and about life.’