Margaret Drabble – The Dark Flood Rises (4 stars)

Drabble captures even the most worrisome topics with humour

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Margaret Drabble – The Dark Flood Rises

Margaret Drabble's latest book is a heartfelt rumination on the process of ageing and inevitability of death. Its storyline is rooted in the life of Francesca: an ageing care home worker attending a conference in the Midlands. As she reflects on the imperfect nature of her marriage to husband Claude, and the essence of her work, the narrative drives home the emotional intensity dealing with your last years.

Though Drabble's writing is littered with good humour, there is a sadness to Francesca's life which undercuts the warmth of memories, old friendships and the ever-present nature of the past. As the novel goes on, its narrative shifts between different characters. All of them are related in some way to Francesca, and each has their own cross to bear, be it a relationship that didn't succeed or a chance that was never taken.

In this novel, the dark flood is death itself, but trust Margaret Drabble to take even the most worrisome of topics and make it witty, relatable and, most importantly, readable.

The Dark Flood Rises is out now.

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