Stephen Abell

A serious case of rising damp

In this, her ninth novel, Maggie Gee has determinedly sought — like God in the beginning — to make the watery world she has created ‘teem with countless living creatures’. She did not, however, see to it that it was good. For The Flood teems not only with living things (birds ‘quivering, flashing on the flowering quinces’ or ‘narrow-faced, amber-eyed, rufous, fearless’ foxes, for example), but with torrents of gushingly overwritten prose that only serve to leave the reader bemused, overwhelmed and somewhat flushed.

Set in a dystopian ‘city...

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