Narrated in first person by Louis Roubien, a 70-year-old well-to-do farmer, its tells of how one major calamity can abruptly change the whole picture. Roubien is proud of what he has achieved and for him, God favors him. His farm has been unaffected by any hail and plant diseases; his cheerful family growing in number; his cattle in good condition. Everything and everybody is just happy. I appreciate how Zola reverberated that happiness to me as a reader and really captured my affection for Roubien who could pass up as my grandfather (my paternal grandfather was also a farmer).
Then Zola created a sense foreboding and built a thrilling turn of events from how a couple of villagers are running like mad to escape the sudden flood to the escalating water level to the way Roubien’s family tries to save each other to an ending that left me breathless.
The Flood is a complete story, meaning Zola masterfully presented to us details before, during, and after the flood, capturing clearly emotions and reactions by different people when a calamity strikes. I encourage you to read it. You can do so here.
Here is an excerpt:
She took up the canticle again, went down the roof, and entered the water. It covered her softly, without a ripple. I had not ceased smiling. I looked with happiness upon the spot where she had just disappeared.
Then, I remembered nothing more. I was alone on the roof. The water had risen. A chimney was standing, and I must have clung to it with all my strength, like an animal that dreads death. Then, nothing, nothing, a black pit, oblivion.
|An aerial shot of the flooding north of Manila, Philippines (Image Credit: AFP) - Photo taken from the Internet|
Mel U of The Reading Life who has also read The Flood by Emile Zola for Short Stories on Wednesdays described this story as powerful. Indeed, the description is very apt.
The story and its author are both powerful.
What short stories have you read this week?
I will also be reading The Seeds by Sherwood Anderson, which Jay of Bibliophilopolis read and featured in his blog last week. I just found out I have a print copy among my collection of anthologies.
- Nancy -
Here are very simple guidelines on how to join Short Stories on Wednesdays.