After the Flood

An engrossing dystopian saga, After the Flood deftly portrays struggle and grief, but falls a little short in solid backstory and character development. A powerful debut not to be missed!

 

Synopsis:

More than a hundred years from now, the earth has been mostly covered with water, leaving nothing but scattered mountain communities dotting the expanse of sea. After her husband took their daughter Row and abandoned her when the waters were rising, Myra must give birth and raise their second daughter, Pearl, alone on a boat. Eight years later, when Myra hears news of Row’s whereabouts, she sets her sights on finding them, no matter the cost.

Each mother is different except in the ways she is broken, right to the marrow; even the softest parts can crumble.

— Kassandra Montag

Review:

After reading this novel, I feel adrift in my emotions and opinions about how best to capture my thoughts. There are so many gorgeous elements to After the Flood. The imagery, conceptualization of a unique setting, and the portrayal of grief and desperation are all done expertly. I’m compelled to believe that Montag has walked through some intense loss to tackle such a desolate emotion so well.

Many reviews have mentioned that they can’t find anything likable about Myra, but I feel like they don’t have a compassionate understanding of grief, how it can change a person’s motivations and capabilities. While I feel connected to some of the other characters, there’s still a bit of mystery surrounding their pasts, creating an enigmatic feeling about the crew. I feel like I only fully understood Myra, but perhaps that’s on purpose. Myra keeps everyone at a distance so she won’t get hurt again, and we’re seeing this new bleak world through her detached and wary eyes.

Providing a more comprehensive backstory of the floods and their causes would give the story more substance. However, I still enjoy the descriptions of how the waters swept everything away. Slowly at first, then brutally and completely. Imagining what was laying under the water is a subtle flashback of what came to pass.

After the Flood is a beautiful story about the bleakness of grief and how it can nearly wipe out hope. There’s also an interesting marriage of hope and desperation motivating most characters. This novel holds no starry-eyed hopes and fairy tale romances. Everything is gritty and sharp-edged, viscerally anxious. With richly descriptive prose and breadth of emotion, this novel packs a punch!

Overall, After the Flood is an immensely powerful debut. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on what Kassandra Montag comes up with next.

Maybe it was because I loved her enough to sit with her, her grief like a third person in the room, palpable, with a shape of its own. A shape that I knew would change over time, evolving as only grief could.

— Kassandra Montag
After the Flood
by Kassandra Montag
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by William Morrow
Summary

An engrossing dystopian saga, After the Flood deftly portrays struggle and grief, but falls a little short in solid backstory and character development. With richly descriptive prose and breadth of emotion, this novel packs a punch! A powerful debut not to be missed!

— Cassie
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  • Helen

    January 30, 2020 at 11:08 pm
    Reply

    Your review is spot on - exactly how I felt about this book!

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