Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Deluge

It has been raining for four days in Boston and so I picked up a copy of Isak Dinesen's "The Deluge of Norderney," which so far is wonderful. The prose style is dense and languid. There's so much backstory that we seem to be continually jumping from present to past and then careening back to the flood itself. I could never construct a narrative as tight and yet as chatty as this one, but it would be fun to try. Here's a tidbit of the flood itself:

"The farmers were awakened by the plaintive bellowing of their animals. Swinging their feet out of bed, int he dark, they put them down in a foot of cold, muddy water. It was salt. It was the same water which rolled, out to the west, a hundred fathoms deep, and washed the white feet of the cliffs of Dover. The North Sea had come to visit them. It was rising quickly. In an hour the moveables of the low farmhouses were floating on the water, knocking against the walls. As the dawn came, the people, from the roofs of their houses, watched the land around them change. Trees and bushes were growing in a moving gray ground, and thick yellow foam was washing over the stretches of their ripening corn, the harvest of which they had been discussing on the last days before the storm."

And that's just page 4. More to come....

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