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E-Version (William Morrow), Rating: 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕 (5/5 Slices)
Recipe: Shrimp Tacos
After the Flood hit my Instagram feed with a bang and took off running. I don’t think I have seen a negative review of it yet. I love a good dystopian novel, so I quickly added it to my list. Then, when I was browsing through Libby (library app), I noticed it was their Libraries Transform program pick for October which meant an electronic version was being made available for download between specific dates. I immediately hit download and all my other reading plans were suspended. I was so glad that I did.
This is a story about a woman, Myra, and her family and how they are surviving in a scary future amongst catastrophic floods. Only the tops of mountains are above the sea and boats and fishing are a way of life. The floodwaters come on where she and her family live (Nebraska) a bit more gradually, allowing them to build a boat and have a bit more time to plan.
One day while she is doing chores, Myra hears screams of her daughter, Row, only to look out the window to see her husband dragging Row into a motor boat and quickly disappearing. Giving birth to a second daughter, Pearl, not long after, Myra continues to search for Row and never gives up hope. When the book opens, Myra and Pearl are surviving by fishing on their little homemade boat and selling their catch, moving from place to place and as she does, searching for word of Row.
Miraculously, after so many inquiries and dead ends going on for many years, she does get word of Row. Thus begins Myra’s journey over dangerous waters and amongst roving bands of ruthless marauders.
The rest is best left for you to read, and that I will do. However, not without first interjecting some key thoughts. First, Myra is an amazing lead character. She is smart, strong, and fights tooth and nail for her family and especially her children. She literally cannot stand being alive without doing everything physically possible to find and rescue her daughter. She is left with some conflicting feelings about her actions and how they affect her other daughter, Pearl, who is basically forced to go along with her mother on this quest. And, grappling with this, she looks back on her relationship with her own parents and the emotions she has about events of the past relating to decisions they made in regard to her life and well-being.
As a mother, I completely identified and agreed with her position and was in complete ecstasy getting lost in this story. It has action, adventure, love, sex, emotion and all in the midst of a pretty scary survivalist setting. This one checks pretty much every box for me in that the story is compelling while having some complexity and underlying themes. The writing was a little more on the simple side, but the author employs some really spectacular descriptions and imagery.
I feel like dystopian novels are plentiful lately, and I have even heard from some of my reader friends that they are sick and tired of them. If you are taking a break from these bleak settings, I recommend that you make an exception and pick this one up. You will be so glad that you did.
Book-Inspired Recipe: “After the Flood” Shrimp Tacos
Survival depended much on Myra’s fishing abilities, and throughout the novel, their access to food waxed and waned depending mostly on the plentifulness of the seafood they could catch. I don’t have to cast my net into the sea to have these shrimp tacos. It’s a good thing, too, because I would NEVER meet the demand that exists for this yummy meal in my house today.