Inundation: The Drowning of Prince Edward Island
by David Compton

"Gently but firmly, he turned aside Laura's suggestion that they should move before the water took the house."

This novel of an impending watery apocalypse brings to mind a couple of other soul shattering reminders of what nature’s forces have in store for us if we fail to take it seriously enough, or if we assume our unbound intellect will always be superior to unintended consequences. Inundation is not as harrowing as Erik Larson’s Isaac’s Storm in its depiction of a rising tide’s primordial power, though it paints a devastating picture nonetheless. Nor is it as profoundly moving as Nevil Shute’s On The Beach in its examination of the emotional toll that looming-oblivion exacts, yet it doesn’t shirk from the individual human tragedy inherent in catastrophic events.

The author places his tale of approaching environmental calamity on Prince Edward Island off the eastern coast of Canada. Decades of ignored warnings about climate change and global warming have come home to roost. Greenland and Antarctic ice caps are melting. The Atlantic is rising. Erosion is causing seaside homes and cottages to crumble from cliffs and tumble roof-over-porch onto the sands below. Fresh water wells are beginning to turn salty. Acres of farmland are being flooded. Caribbean storms that once dissipated before heading north are no longer weakening before lying waste to shorelines and inland property.

This is a colossal disaster for the people of the island. Lives are torn asunder as they are forced to flee from the rising waters. Compton sews a multi-racial quilt of lovers caught in circumstances beyond their control, the elderly and the sick too stubborn or too ill to move, unscrupulous businessmen selling real estate that’s already underwater to unsuspecting foreigners, villains taking advantage of the disenfranchised, and heroes coming to the aid of people in need.

Inundation is a frightening depiction of a potential world to come, painted with the soft pastels of humanism and captured on a climate-canvas of our own making. It is perhaps less a polemic than it is a portent of things to come.

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