The territory of Clare Shaw’s third collection isn’t one she chose herself, but one which chose her: the flooded valley and the ruined home. The 2015 floods in Britain left whole swathes of the country submerged, including her home town. Flood offers an eye-witness account of those events, from rainfall to rescue, but ripples out from there.
Intimately interwoven with the breakdown of a relationship, flooding serves as a powerful metaphor for wider experiences of loss, destruction and recovery. Testifying equally to the forces that destroy us and save us, flood runs through the book in different forms – bereavement and trauma, the Savile scandal, life in an asylum. Yet ultimately, this is a story of one life as it is unravelled and rebuilt, written from the heart and from the North, in a language as dangerous and sustaining as water.
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