When the Floods Came

When the Floods Came A Taut, Gripping Novel Set In The Future, When The Lives Of A Family Existing On The Margins Of A Dramatically Changed Society Are Upset By A Mysterious StrangerIn A World Prone To Violent Flooding, Britain, RavagedYears Earlier By A Deadly Virus, Has Been Largely Cut Off From The Rest Of The World Survivors Are Few And Far Between, Most Of Them Infertile Children, The Only Hope For The Future, Are A Rare CommodityForYear Old Roza Polanski, Life With Her Family In Their Isolated Tower Block Is Relatively Comfortable She S Safe, Happy Enough But When A Stranger Called Aashay Kent Arrives, Everything Changes At First He S A Welcome Addition, His Magnetism Drawing The Polanskis Out Of Their Shells, Promising An Alternative To A Lonely Existence But Roza Can T Shake The Feeling That There S To Aashay Than He S Letting On Is There To Life Beyond Their Isolated Bubble Is It True That Children Are Being Kidnapped And What Will It Cost To Find Out Clare Morrall, Author Of The Man Booker Prize Shortlisted Astonishing Splashes Of Colour, Creates A Startling Vision Of The Future In A World Not So Very Far From Our Own, And A Thrilling Story Of SuspenseBiographical Notes Clare Morrall S First Novel, Astonishing Splashes Of Colour, Was Published InAnd Shortlisted For The Man Booker Prize That Year She Has Since Published The Novels Natural Flights Of The Human Mind, The Language Of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, Which Was A TV Book Club Summer Read In , The Roundabout Man And After The BombingBorn In Exeter, Clare Morrall Now Lives In Birmingham She Works As A Music Teacher, And Has Two Daughters

Clare Morrall born 1952 is an English novelist Born in Exeter, she has lived mainly in Birmingham, where she worked for many years as a music teacher.

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  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • When the Floods Came
  • Clare Morrall
  • English
  • 14 October 2019

10 thoughts on “When the Floods Came

  1. says:

    This was well on its way to a 4 star review but the ending was rushed and predictable I was hoping for something unusual that matched the tone of the rest of the book Too much was left unanswered.

  2. says:

    Ahoy there mateys This was a random find in a local library that I just had to pick up Why Because I love post apocalyptic stories that deal with climate change As the title suggests, this one deals with flooding The bonus was that it was written by a British writer I love to read other countries takes on climate change.Side note This book was referenced as Cli Fi in an article That term cracks me up The story centers around Roza Polanski and her family living in an abandoned building in Birmingham A virus has devastated the population and flooding has led to the ruination of most population centers There is a small government in Brighton Having been there, this fact entertained me to no end Technology is slowly failing due to lack of maintenance and the number of people is in steady decline due to virus related fertility issues The people that do exist are in the later stages of life and there are not many children or teens.Roza s parents are one of the few couples to remain fertile and had four children Her childhood is a seemingly happy one despite the family s isolation The children are fed, loved, fairly healthy, educated, and safe Roza is set to be married soon and life seems to be headed towards a hopeful future However, one day a stranger named Aashay appears in their lives His presence brings a fresh perspective on the state of the world to the Polanskis and leads them away from their isolation But can they trust this stranger in their midst and retain their safety The world building was me favorite part of the novel I loved the images of riding bikes on abandoned highways, how the flooding cycles through, the family s resourcefulness and intelligence, and above all the inter family relationships It was wonderful to see a family who was supportive and cared for each other.The plot was problematic for me Aashay is charming and mysterious and not very forthcoming with his past The family is seemingly charmed by him and suspicious of him the whole time I got somewhat annoyed by the waffling which, to be fair, is a pet peeve of mine There is some suspense in the second half of the novel which was extremely fun but overall the later portion of the book along with the ending was unsatisfying Too many unanswered questions.I was mostly confused by how an intelligent family could waffle so much about Aashay Can charm really go that far Well apparently the author wrote about that based on her own experiences An article from The Independent says Take Aashay Kent, the novel s ambiguous male lead and dead ringer for Epstein s Lucifer I became interested in the concept of charm, Morrall says, offering as an example one of her daughter s ex boyfriends One in particular was quite an intriguing man we were all charmed by Then you realise, bit by bit, there was quite a nasty underside to him Then he comes bouncing back with a great big grin The bizarre thing is you know what you see is not the reality, and yet the way this charisma works is you are drawn back into it Very interesting The novel was a solid read even if I had some problems with it Ultimately I am glad I read this book and would read other works by the author.Check out me other reviews at

  3. says:

    When the Floods Came is a tightly woven mix of suspense, mystery and intrigue set in a Britain ravaged by flooding, its population decimated by the deadly Hoffman virus Among the survivors are the Polanskis an educated and talented family who s lived for 20 years in the heart of England isolated from the outside world in a high rise flat named after the American State of Wyoming.Twenty two year old Roza Polanski s future looks promising, working online for the TU a Chinese owned company, and looking forward to marriage to a brilliant scientist in Brighton But her world is shattered after she discovers not only a new drawing of a black and white cat on a doorway during her family s Stair Game but a mysterious stranger hiding on the Bicycle Floor In a riveting story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat Roza and her family s safe and secure life is ruptured by a threat and promise of violence that they ll have to confront to escape.Clare Morrall builds a future world marred by a shortage of food supplies, destroyed buildings and a lack of people as well as violent weather and flooding Although the Polanzkis are comfortable with chickens and a goat sheltered on the roof of the tower block the atmosphere becomes unpredictable, apprehensive and forbidding with the appearance Aashay Kent, a magnetic and charming but ominous young man who avoids being questioned With children a valuable commodity because of the loss of fertility post Hoffman , the Protectorate in Brighton enforces a law that all young people must marry by age twenty five For Roza that has meant finding a suitable partner online, someone she respects and cares for until Aashay s arrival rips apart the fabric of her family s life.Cleverly the author creates an imaginative and riveting plot building tension with the threat implied by innocent drawings of a black and white cat, nursery rhymes that amplify the family s emotions and fears and Hector s determination, anxiety and struggle as he cycles cross country to claim his bride The story heats up with a trip to the Fair where the family s eyes are opened to the perils of the outside world and a past wrong that could cost them a child Even the growing attraction between Roza and Aashay is hampered by sinister lies, secrets and their clash of wills With twists and turns that keep you guessing the plot progresses quickly and smoothly to a violent confrontation and a rescue that leaves questions than answers.Among a host of complex and realistic characters that add high energy, excitement and passion to the story are Roza the oldest Polanski child, a translator with an intuitive mind who s clever, resourceful and irrevocably drawn to the electrical chemistry she shares with Aashay Boris her strong, good hud but restless brother Delphine her complaining, self absorbed sixteen year old sister and confident, trusting but spirited seven year old Lucia Yet it s the controlled, secretive, arrogant and aggressive Aashay Kent who adds a menacing chill to the story.I loved When the Floods Came a well written, haunting dystopian tale of mystery and intrigue that I couldn t put until finished I recommend it highly and will look for a sequel.

  4. says:

    I am not sure what I think of this book, the ending was very confusing and seemed rushed I still don t get the Chinese coming in at the last moment and why did they wait

  5. says:

    A surprisingly whimsical take of the apocalypse Morrall is an author who I keep meaning to investigate further the only book of hers which I have read is The Roundabout Man, which was evocative but still left me feeling faintly dissatisfied I keep meaning to check out Astonishing Splashes Of Colour, which I know is Morrall s best known work but until the TBR Mountain subsides slightly, my curiousity is destined to remain unfulfilled With When The Floods Came though, I feel that I have caught of a glimpse of Morrall s creative power however, with an apparently worn out concept a post apocalyptic world set out in one of the most low key and muted interpretations that I can ever imagine Fans of Station Eleven are likely to find this a book to enjoy, but it still has a particular flavour of nostalgia for childhood and lost innocence which was one of the most effective aspects of The Roundabout Man This feels like a very British take on the end of the world.Roza Polanski is twenty two years old and lives in a flat near to her parents She has a job that she enjoys and a lovely fianc She has two sisters, Delphine and Lucia, as well as a brother, Boris, all of whom she clearly adores Her parents, Popi and Moth, are loving and the family are close Roza has never met anyone of her own age, her only interactions with her betrothed, Hector, have been via his hologram She is employed online by the Chinese and recompensed with food and medical supplies She has set the computer in her flat to having a macho voice because she enjoys telling him to shut up The family live in a tower block in the ruins of Birmingham, the only residents left Britain has been ravaged by both a sketchily described pandemic, Hoffmans, and then severe flooding The summers are too hot, the winters severe and the storms potentially deadly But all this happened twenty years previously the past as her parents knew it is a foreign land to Roza and beyond grieving over.The Polanskis have led an isolated existence all of these years, doing their work online, refusing all requests to move to Brighton, where the government is now situated after floods decimated London They are cocooned in their own little world, their conversation peppered with nursery rhymes, keeping to family traditions and playing games I was reminded strongly of the Clock family in The Borrowers Outside the tower block, Popi has laboured for twenty years on a huge statue of a young girl, originally modelled on Roza although she is no longer sure if this is the case The statue remains incomplete, echoing Roza s feeling of not being quite a grown up, even in her twenties Moth and Popi were hippies back in the day, protesting against the pollution which seems to have caused the flooding and the two of them chafe against the government intervention which their children accept as a matter of course Roza s upcoming wedding is set to happen in Brighton, with Delphine and Boris set to join her there as she starts married life, meaning that family are approaching a crossroads.When The Floods Came is a coming of age tale above anything Roza has been stealing away to explore the abandoned buildings around the city and a particular favourite is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery One day, when she is gazing at Jacob Epstein s statue of the Archangel Lucifer, she sees Aashay Like Lucifer, he is young and handsome and beautiful he is also the serpent entering the Garden of Eden Questions swirl around him immediately How long has he been watching the Polanskis What does he want What does he know that they do not Can he be trusted Strangely, for a character who never seems to be convincingly speaking the truth, the naive Polanskis invite him into their snug little world, believing themselves too careful to be hurt Roza marvels than once at how his charm manages to persuade them to keep him around even though they know full well that he is lying One senses that Morrall herself is fascinated by people like Aashay, the slippery eels who deal in secrets and tell naught but lies but who still come up smiling nonetheless Aashay invites the family into a brand new understanding of the world they live in, one beyond the approved paths laid out by the government in Brighton There are the fairs, technically illegal but allowing people to congregate and make connections Roza finds herself caught between her affection for the safe, loving clownish Hector and the flesh and blood charms of Aashay, the first man she has ever seen While her family assume her to be immune, Roza is unnerved by how he seems to watch her She is Eve, wondering whether or not she can take the risk of pulling down an apple from the tree of knowledge.Innocence is a huge theme of When The Floods Came, particularly so given that the second wave of Hoffmans failed to kill but left its survivors infertile Humans younger than twenty are an endangered species and young people are a precious commodity This is particularly poignant for the Polanskis, whose youngest child Lucia is aged seven and thus especially prized However, the open secret is that she is their second Lucia, since the first died in an accident, leaving the family prostrated with grief When a lost little toddler waif washes up in one of the floods, Moth scooped her up and brought her home in so decisive a manner that Roza admits that weeks go by when she herself forgets that Lucia is not the original Yet this deliberate forgetting does not seem to have bled through to Lucia herself, who one senses has uncertainties about her place in the family When the family visits the fair, they realise quite how desperate the hunger has become for children and there are disturbing intimations of a possible underground trade in children which rumble beneath the surface of the story.I found this a thought provoking point do people really feel that they have a right to children I have read articles written by people complaining that they had not had their longed for daughter, one in particular made much of how they were in business and so were used to getting what they want What did these hungry would be parents hope to gain from snatching Lucia from her family Aashay refers to the Polanskis at one point as Lucia s owners rather than her parents, clearly seeing her as a commodity rather than a child I have thought this myself when I see children called by what I think of as baby names as in, names that would not suit an adult to what extent do parents look at their baby and see a doll which they have produced rather than a budding human who will one day grow up Morrall conjures up so many wonderful images in this novel the family cycling along the motorway, avoiding the abandoned cars Moth and Popi having to spend three days during Roza s childhood going round the tower block switching off all of the moving photographs to save power The horror as Roza looked at a family in the fair and recognised their hair colour Most poignant of all was perhaps the fate of Hector somehow I always knew that he and Roza were never going to have their wedding When The Floods Came some how manages to make the dystopian seem everyday, that a world where one keeps a goat and some hens in a tower block in Birmingham could truly seem familiar Like Station Eleven, Roza s world is concentrated on the practicalities, but the Polanskis have somehow passed through the pandemic, the floods, the collapse of society, all of it, without ever losing sight of what time someone is expected home, what the family will have for tea, the standards of behaviour which they expect from their children Only with the arrival of Aashay do they have to start thinking about how on earth they are going to survive.Like The Roundabout Man, When The Floods Came still feels slightly incomplete There was resolution and there was understanding but having drawn out this world, I was left feeling that Morrall had not quite explained it What did the incomplete statue of the girl truly mean Had Aashay spoken any truth at all There was hanging threads Also, despite Roza s naivete, I still struggled to keep patience with her and I am not sure I quite warmed to her as a protagonist Like Quinn of The Roundabout Man, I have a feeling that I was supposed to sympathise with Roza as being a misfit, but her family seemed too tightly knit for her to ever feel like a loner, despite her isolated state and instead I felt frustrated with her inability to face reality My attention was caught far by the notion of Birmingham gone wild, the floods, the barren motorways for me, in many ways the plot of When The Floods Came was drowned out by its setting which has remained in my mind far than any of the characters.

  6. says:

    A really cracking concept that could have been thrilling but had an incredibly disappointing ending.I wanted to like Roza and her family, however Morrall insists on making Roza insufferable, dissecting everything she says And everything Boris says and Moth saysI was utterly exhausted by the end and the plot really hadn t moved anywhere As is often the way in films and books you ask, What are the stakes The family want to stay safe and be together and there are dangers in the world but the danger never feels real It s just Roza telling us over and over that things are dangerous Show the danger Give us something to worry or care about instead of the musings of a neuoritc girl and her cooped up family I was intrigued to know what the mystery was and worst of all, there was none The ending is totally baffling and if anyone could explain it to me I d bloody love it Usually one of my favourite genres, but this one seemed to miss the mark.

  7. says:

    A curious futuristic tale that never quite delivers.

  8. says:

    Roza Polanski lives with her parents, her sisters and her brother in an apartment building in Birmingham, works for a Chinese scientific research program, is engaged to one of her colleagues, Hector, and has never met anyone her own age The world climate has changed, so between spring and autumn floods, the summer months are too hot to go out, and the winter snow lies metres deep In the UK, the population was drastically reduced after an outbreak of deadly disease, and the country is in quarantine, run by a skeleton government in Brighton, subject to supply drops from the rest of the world Roza is pretty happy, all told, and looking forward to finally meeting Hector eye to eye.And then a cat is set loose among the pigeons, and Roza s world turns upside.This is a well written, well characterised book, with a different vision of the future than is often portrayed Technology solutions to the weather extremes were put in place before Hoffman s, there have been small advances in living technology that feel plausible, not too grand and live changing, the combination of online work and family life is neatly drawn.

  9. says:

    This book is not as interesting as it thinks it is The world it builds isn t solid, it s fuzzy round the edges, like a half formed idea written out drawn out like without any real purpose There s no take away from this book, no reason for it, it is like a bad adaptation of Z is for Zachariah with bicycles.

  10. says:

    Review to come.

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