In the High Peaks

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Indulging Myself--Reading The Storm

The Reading Cure:
This week started out with me not making any progress with work, no matter what I tried to do. A medical professional I trust suggested (okay--strongly urged) that I take a break and recover my will and strength. So I've dedicated myself the past four days to only two hours of work per day followed by a long ramble over wild terrain, followed by reading for hours in the loft bed. No stress. I feel so much better already. The books and the walking have done wonders thus far.

I thoroughly appreciated The Storm by Dutch novelist Margriet de Moor, which was translated by Carol Brown Janeway, and published in English in 2010. (Original Dutch publication 2005.) As I think I mentioned previously, this novel involves one family's experiences of the horrendous catastrophe that befell southern Holland on January 31-February 1, 1953 when nearly 2,000 lives were swept away by the sea in a storm. The dykes broke all across southernmost Holland, letting loose tidal waves and winds that blasted houses to bits and literally obliterated town after town. Even though the hurricane-force winds that had crossed Scotland the day before, killing 19 people, then had borne down on the shores of East Anglia killing 370 people by flooding, was not enough for some reason for weather services in Holland to issue a warning to their people. It was a weekend. January 31st was, in fact, a Saturday night when no weather forecasters were on alert.

The storm in this novel is a larger-than-life character. Shocking storm imagery abounds. I have not read anything in my life that competes with the storm characterizations that de Moor creates.

It is a grim novel, even though only one member of the family is caught in the storm. This novel is also about how a single tragedy has tremendous repercussions over the lifetimes of all family members. It is also about how a family and in particular, how one sister manages to survive her guilt.

Highly recommended.


  1. These days it's almost impossible to imagine a weekend when no weather forecasters are watching the weather! How crazy does that sound to us in the 21st. century...

  2. Cath,
    I thought exactly the same thing as I read this book. Weather forecasting and populace protection from storms became a big thing for the Dutch after this storm.