After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
"The sun set as the chicken grilled, and I swore I could smell lilacs drifting toward us from land. - But it was just land- being close to land stirring my memories. Smelling fresh cut grass or in-season flowers. Expecting the mail at noon. All these memories like a phantom limb. Maybe that was the real reason Pearl and I stayed on the water." p. 74
Ive always loved reading post-apocalyptic novels, there is something about them that really intrigues me. The "what-ifs" that result from my reading and ultimately the conversations I have with my husband about the realities of those stories and what we would do, etc.
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag follows Myra and her young daughter Pearl seven years after the devastating floods finally washed over the world as we know it now. Losing her first daughter during the same time, Myra and Pearl have lived their lives on their boat, Bird, stopping on the small plots of land remaining only when low on supplies or to trade.
Instantly, this world caught my attention. To live life following such a terrible disaster and also to have your entire existence upended, I simply couldn't imagine. There were times while reading Montag's descriptions of life after the flood that I felt almost claustrophobic. So little space on such a wide and open sea. So little land left on such a large Earth. Its hard to wrap your mind around!
These thoughts crept along in the background as I was reading, following Myra's story as she tries to make her way to a northern valley where she learns her daughter is living. There is so much happening in this story. It felt extremely fast paced without losing any of the emotionally charged moments or feelings carrying Myra through her journey. I found myself underlining a lot of passages, ones that struck me as a mother especially. This part, the strength and courage Myra shows as a mother, is for me what was at the heart of this story. I couldn't help but empathize with and feel fear alongside her at various points of the story.
If you enjoy post apocalyptic stories, stories about motherhood, courage and perseverance and a fast paced story line I highly recommend After the Flood. I will be thinking about this story for a long time and have placed it high on my shelf, alongside other favorites such as Station Eleven and The Road.