It’s a compelling story, no matter how you tell it. But as you may already know, dear reader, I do like a story told in poetry. Something about the sparseness of the language allows the author to cut through to the rawness of the emotions and bring forth a beauty and clarity that too many words can obfuscate. Hawthorne nimbly chooses her words to create both tension and character. A woman, her lover and her dog all share their different views on what is happening to them, and the people they meet as a whole community of nature lovers finds themselves at the mercy of the thing they loved the most.
The narrative spans several days, and shows the differing reactions of the unnamed characters. The simple joys experienced by the oblivious dog of course provides a relief from the tensions of the two women, one of whom finds cause to delve into her past and confront memories of her parents. As so often happens in times of crisis, psychological barriers are worn away, as are our inhibitions. One of the women realises she has run to approach a passing car for help with her breasts exposed. She spares little thought for this, so focussed on finding a way to escape the mud and rising waters. Unlike her companion, she is more knowledgeable about the wrath of mother nature.
Simple, stylised black and white illustrations are also included.
Taut, tense and gripping. A delightful way to spend an afternoon.