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The torrential rains and rising rivers which were visited upon parts of the country last week have made me think about watery stories, from Biblical floods to miasmas of rising damp.
· Incessant rain pours down on the city of light in Sarah Smith’s The Knowledge of Water, in which the devastating flood of Paris in 1910 is the backdrop for a passionate and unconventional affair.
· Set amongst the rising waters created during the construction of the Aswan Dam, Anne Michaels The Winter Vault lyrically ponders worlds lost forever, and the power of technology to both create and destroy.
· The Acqua Alta are the rising waters which regularly flood the streets and homes of Venice and lap at the feet of Donna Leon’s much-loved Commissario Brunetti.
· At the junction of the River Floss and the River Ripple sits the Dorlcote Mill, in George Eliot’s 19th-century novel The Mill on the Floss, where siblings Tom and Maggie Tulliver grow up.
· Heavy rains flood the river system as 11-year-old Malcolm rescues baby Lyra from the clutches of the Magisterium, fleeing to London in his trusty canoe, La Belle Sauvage, in the novel of the same name by Philip Pullman which is also the prequel to His Dark Materials.
· James Lee Burke sets many of his novels in the American South, some of those in the devastating aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina; in The Tin Roof Blowdown, Detective Robicheaux hunts the predators let loose in an apocalyptic nightmare, in a city in which civil society has drowned and the federal government is malignly absent.
· Marsh-wiggles are the gloomy and web-footed inhabitants of the marshes which are the damp setting for The Silver Chair by C S Lewis, a wet blanket who reminds us that "dry mornings bring wet afternoons."
· The flood is metaphorical in Margaret Drabble’s The Dark Flood Rises, representing old age and dying, while also referring to the effects of climate change.