As torrential rains lash Quebec, Iona, a harried mother of two, is torn between her deep maternal instincts and the need to find herself again. To escape the perfectly ordered but exhausting life imposed on her by her husband, Nils, she reminisces about her youth, her experiences with drugs, and her mad love for a boy who’d do anything to test her limits.
When floodwaters threaten Montreal, Iona is jolted out of her reverie. Nils drives his wife and children up north to take shelter at a luxurious estate belonging to his family. They hole up with friends and relatives far from civilization in a waterlogged forest that’s full of surprises. As the food supply dwindles and mayhem breaks out across the province, tensions mount in the opulent old mansion between those who’ll fight fiercely to protect their resources and those, like Iona, who put faith in solidarity and embrace the forces of chaos.
In this lush, lyrical novel, Elsa Pépin conjures up a disaster but laces her story with love and hope. She reveals the extremes governing our lives and shows how startlingly porous the borders are between the self and the world, water and earth, and life and death.