Manila August 7, 2012
In light of the recent floods in Manila, A Simple Clockwork and I have decided we would both read and post on Emile Zola's (1840 to 1902, Paris, France) famous short story, "The Flood". I have previously posted on two of his novels, Nana and The Belly of Paris. Zola is an incredibly powerful writer known for his very realistic novels depicting man at his most base level.
"The Flood" begins by telling us about the wonderful life a hardworking French farmer has made for himself and his family by working his land. He takes great pride in his large family all of whom live in comfort with him. The story opens at a family dinner and Zola does a wonderful job of letting us see how the work of the man has paid of for him. We also feel a sense of almost hubris in his feeling of security. "The Flood" does not need a lot of explanation, you do not at all need someone to explain it to you.
As the story continues the rain has been coming down for a long time. People are worried that the river may rise and flood the farms near it. The man says people always say the river will rise and flood them out but it never does. He assures his worried family they have nothing to worry about. Of course we know he is wrong but Zola does such a great job describing the terror and destruction brought on by the rising water that every event is still shocking and terrible. This is a story of the power of nature and perhaps of the folly of arrogance it the face of its wrath.
This story really should be read by anyone who has ever been in or seen images of floods. It totally invokes the horrible fear rising waters can bring.
"The Flood" can be read online HERE
I am reading this story as my participation in Short Stories on Wednesday.
Do you know of other short stories or novels centering around floods?