The Year of The Flood
In a piece for the L.A. Times, Scott Martelle writes about fictional floods. He begins with the description of the flood in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God:
Hurston might have been writing about real events. A 1928 hurricane forced Lake Okeechobee over its banks, killing more than 1,800 people, and she lived through a hurricane while visiting the Bahamas a year later. But untethered from reportage, the primal scene touches deep-seated fears that have made cataclysmic storms and floods recurring themes in the human story, such as ancient creation myths and Noah’s famous struggle in the Bible, movies such as”Key Largo,” Delta blues, George Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess,” and Junichiro Tanizaki’s novel “The Makioka Sisters.”
He also discusses the significance of floods in literature, in work by Hurston, Mark Twain, Jane Smiley, and others, including me.