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The Deluge

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Member Reviews

The Deluge is a dense, urgent and important work. It's very grim, very dark. When you think it can't get any worse, it does. Starting around the year 2014 and going forward to 2039, we witness what happens when greed, power and ignorance lead the planet to the brink of its own extinction.  Famines, floods, fires, species disappearing, heat waves, the ice shelf melting, it's all happening. This is not a book to read at night before you go to sleep. It is terrifying and will give you nightmares.

Reminded of Richard Powers' The Overstory for the disparate chapters and similar themes, Markley employs different styles (memoir, news articles, reports, first person narratives) for these sections, some more successful than others. Sorry Ash, but your sections read like a textbook, even though you were one of my favorite characters. 

The book is long. The chapters are long. So long that I had trouble keeping track of who was who when we came back to them hundreds of pages later. There are scientists, politicians, finance types, journalists, activists, eco-terrorists, policy makers, and patsies. Working together (or not) to save the planet before it's too late. A lot happens in these almost 900 pages, and we become invested in the characters and the outcome. So much so that I may have cried a few times. The book gained a lot of momentum and I couldn't put it down when I got to part 5, the final homestretch, with about 25% left to go. The Deluge is a book that will benefit from long uninterrupted stretches of reading (just not at bedtime, because, disaster porn: "this horror has no conclusion"; "this crisis is effectively our eternity" are some of the lighter quotes). 

Could it have been shorter? Sure. Could it have been chopped up into two or three separate books? Probably, but without the same impact. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC.
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Beautifully written, absolutely terrifying. This should be mandatory reading for everyone in government and all climate deniers. I hope we can fix things before they get to this level but it sure seems unlikely. 

I grew up in Ohio and Markley definitely gets life in the rust belt. I have to say though, this book was LONG, probably more than necessary. I get that it’s a sweeping dystopian epic but it is likely it would get a bigger audience if cut down by about a third. I look forward to his next book.
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I tried very hard to get through this book as I heard the author has a good reputation. I read 6 chapters and finely am stopping. I was initially also interested in this book since it was about Climate Change, something I like to keep up to date about. 

However, this book started on Chapter 1 and I was already lost. I felt as though I had picked up a Science Textbook and was reading that. I could not in any way relate to the story. The next chapter was in a completely different style and believe alternated between writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Character. It was discussing some youth that had been in the Iraq War. I could follow this chapter even less. 

Each chapter would be different and have new characters that I could not keep track of. The writing style would change again. The writing was disjointed and I just found it tedious to try and finish another unreadable for me chapter. 

As this book is written, it just is not going to change. I like a much more linear narrative and to get to really relate to specific characters and a story. This truthfully was not going to happen no manner how many pages I read. It is the style of the book and may well work for others. It is very different. I recommend this book if you are interested in trying something such as this, but I am the wrong audience. 

Thank you NetGalley, Stephen Markley, and Simon & Schuster for giving me a chance to read this novel.
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I'm floored by this book. A sprawling, epic, immersive story told through a mosaic of diverse and intricately woven perspectives, The Deluge is the seminal novel about climate change. I know that this book won't be for everyone - particularly due to its nearly 900-page length - but it certainly was for me. Not only is this the most impactful and effective speculation on what our world will come to if we do nothing about our interrelated environmental and social disasters, but it's a fundamentally human story: about life's hardest and most joyful moments, about sacrifice, about camaraderie, about fighting for what you believe in, about the long arc of justice.

Told over the span of more than 25 years, the book looks at the world's worsening climate crisis through the lens of several different and seemingly unrelated actors: a brash, passionate, outspoken climate activist; a savant data analyst; a single mom-cum-ecoterrorist, and so many more. Following these characters from 2013 to 2040, we see their own evolution against the backdrop of a burning Los Angeles, a drowning Midwest, a record-breaking heat wave in D.C., a global famine, a burgeoning radical right-wing terrorist movement, and so many other crises.

I truly think Markley is a master of his craft. The fact that he's able to spin this tale, a tale that felt so realistic that I wanted to Google the fictional events and read more about their history, told by probably ten rotating characters that each felt distinct and personal, and keep me completely engrossed the entire - THE ENTIRE - time? That is truly impressive.

This is by no means an easy book to read, not just for its length, but for its depressing look into our inevitable planetary future and for some of the truly dark fates that befall our characters. But it's important, urgent, and as applicable to our lives as ever a novel could be. I really hope you read this book.

" [One day my daughter will ask:] 'Was it worth it? Was a raped and murdered world worth it for a few decades of excess? How did you let this happen? You all knew, everyone knew!'" [...] All I'll be able to tell her is, 'Some of us tried, baby. Some of us fought like hell.'"
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A novel of monumental proportions. Combining modern day political and sociological events, along with climate change( and the deniers of same) and everyday people, it explores the what might/could/probably will happen if climate and political change does not happen soon.
 There are ecological warriors trying to save the planet in very separate ways: one wants to burn oil refineries, the other is trying for political movement to help affect changes, along with teaching people how to grow their own food and such.
 There are vastly different political parties. One denies there is a climate problem and one believes but can’t seem to come to a consensus on how to fix it.
And the people, meanwhile, are trying to survive through food shortages, massive storms, floods and massive unrest. All wrapped around a love story.
Terrific book. Scary too. 
Highly recommend.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me this ARC.
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unfortunately I had to DNF after the 3rd chapter because of the number of racial slurs, islamophobia, and sexual assault with just 6% in
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I have been anxiously awaiting the next book from Stephen Markley for years, and The Deluge didn't disappoint. It's a classic that will remain with me for years to come. There are many characters to keep track of, but if you invest the time and put forth the effort, the reward is a narrative that will satisfy readers of all kinds.
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<b>The Short of It:</b>

This book left me feeling very frustrated and honestly, a little sick to my stomach. Climate change is terrifying.

<b>The Rest of It:</b>

In the first decades of the 21st century, the world is convulsing, its governments mired in gridlock while a patient but unrelenting ecological crisis looms." ~ Indiebound

In 2013, Tony is a scientist studying the effects of undersea methane. His discoveries are not welcome and result in death threats. As he continues with his studies, which take him into the mid-2030s, we are introduced to a cast of characters. Some broken, some desperate, some so driven that they are oblivious to their paths of destruction.

This is an ambitious and terrifying read because it gives us a glimpse of where we are headed. We are experiencing the effects of climate change now, but reading about what our lives could be 15 years from now is especially terrifying because I’m not sure we can do much about it at this point. So much damage has already been done. Is this our fate? Temps so hot that life cannot be sustained?

The Deluge is not a fun book to read but it is an important read. It’s nearly 900 pages but I plowed through it, hopeful that I’d find some glimmer of good somewhere in the text. That was not to be. This book will shake you up and leave you very unsettled. If that was Markley’s intent, then he succeeded.

Why read it? Because it’s important to consider how our actions affect life as we know it. Environmentally, rising temps, drought, poisonous gasses, and really, waste in general can do us in. Holing up in the safety of our homemade cocoons won’t save future generations.

Markley paints a very scary picture of the future. Do with that what you will.

For more reviews, visit my blog: <a href="">Book Chatter</a>.
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This book struck a deep chord in me and my heart. I absolutely hated it but I think that is the correct emotion for all to be feeling. This book is not a book read for good feelings, and really not for a "good" read either. However it is deeply important. By mixing in fact and fiction, as well as past vs future, sometimes it is very hard to remember this book is not fact but fiction. At the same time, the general idea seems completely feasible. In a terrifying prediction for the future, it is clear the idea is that we must do something now, and even then that may not be enough. The book was incredibly hard to chew. Nearly 900 pages long, there were multiple storylines that intercrossed with timelines, as well as information rooted in our actual reality mixed in with ones that are not. Because of this, it was hard to read more than a few sections before putting it down and it really affected my emotions. I definitely think this book did not need to be nearly as long as it is and would have benefited by reduction in length.
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With a lot of characters, a massive scope and length this book was just too long and too much for my taste. I loved the ideas and concepts and some of the characters came through and made a connection but overall it was just not the book for me.
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A deluge of words and pages, later becomes a deluge of rain and flood waters then finally a deluge of people.  

This is an impressive book, it takes us from current time into the near future, incrementally year by year. It gives us a horrifying look at what climate change might look like, and US politics. 

There are a large cast of characters, in the beginning of the book they each get their own chapter, with some depth, that it feels like you are untethered. But later they do start to intertwine and recur with subsequent chapters. There are some unusual aspects to the book; one character’s chapters always contain side boxes with extra information, there are some articles interspersed, and occasionally a full page with headlines and snippets.

While I am impressed with the scope of breadth of this book, part of me thinks it is too much too soon. Many of these events take place ten to fifteen years from now and seem too extreme for possibility (or at least that’s my hope!). The book is overwhelming, impressive, and frightening. 

Certainly, the author is hoping this epic book will serve as a warning. Perhaps one take away from the book is that one person can make a difference, as we see several versions of that here.
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Way, way, way too long...

This could easily have been six regular-size books. Sure there are some very good books that are very long ... have you read 1Q84? I have, and I loved it!

This book is clearly very well researched, very well written, but reading it is like reading those earlier-mentioned six books at once.

The characters are deep, three-dimensional, complex (often too deep and too complex!), but overall the story is the size of an avalanche. Aptly so, since the subject matter is a planetary catastrophe, that's been snowballing over years and decades, into a planet killer. If only it were a little more readable and memorable.

There are better Climate disaster novels out there, including the recently released and excellent "The Light Pirate" by Lily Brooks-Dalton, or the more pulpy but clearly well-researched "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. "The Deluge" is unlike either of those, a little bombastic and by far too self-assured story-telling, as if derision and contempt - of everyone and everything - are the only expressions on offer here.

Thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and the author for providing an eARC for this honest review.

I really wish I could have given a more positive feedback to a book that has so much effort put into it, but come on ... it shouldn't take an equal amount of effort to read it !!
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This is so highly rated, but so badly written.  It is hard to get into or care about.  I found the writing to be pedantic to the point of self-indulgence.  I really wanted to like it after all of the hype.  Instead, I had to force my way through it.  A lot of editing could make a decent story.
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A deeply sobering read that is both expansive and ambitious. The Deluge is not your typical dystopian novel in that it is grounded in the events of today. The book ends in 2039 so it firmly puts itself in the “near future”. Mr Markley does a wonderful job of weaving all the characters together and takes time to write each chapter in the voice of the individual characters while still moving the narrative forward. Climate change science abounds and all the events that happen you will think to yourself, “this is plausible” simply because it build on events that  we are already dealing with. I liked some of the characters a lot and others i felt were terrible people or were meant to simply fill a need in the story to show a diverse representation without substance. I felt that the character of Kate, central to the plot in many many ways, was Mr Markleys attempt at the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope while in actuality she is a conceited self absorbed narcissist who only has her own interest in mind but is deified  nonetheless including by her beta boyfriend Matt. Overall the book is a great read, I had trouble putting it down, and recommend it.
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Markley’s debut novel, Ohio, came out in 2018, and it was one of the year’s best that I promoted at the end of the year on my blog, Seattle Book Mama. I loved it so much that I was convinced that anything this author wrote would be golden. So when Simon and Schuster invited me to read and review his next book, The Deluge, I was delighted. But although I am grateful to the publisher and Net Galley for including me, I cannot bring myself to finish this thing. I suspect Markley may have bitten off more than he can chew, because it’s kind of a mess. 

To be fair, I have only read the first twenty percent, but since the book is 900 pages in length, that’s a chunk.  After all of that, I can’t even keep the characters straight, let alone bond with them. One character, Kate, seems to hold the most promise, but just as I begin to develop interest, we transition to a different character—or news article, or whatever—in a manner that feels abrupt and jerky. Some of these characters appear more than once, and other may have, but I’m not even sure of it. There’s one horrifying rapist that speaks to the reader 
intimately and in the second person, and he gives me the heebie-jeebies so badly that I am glad to move on to someone else. That guy—whatever his name is—and Kate are the only two I can identify, sort of. I’m a language arts teacher. Good luck to everybody else. 

I do understand that the overall message has to do with the environmental ruin that is marching toward us at an alarming pace. Markley isn’t wrong to sound the alarm, although it may in large part be a case of preaching to the choir; the most concerned among us are probably the most likely to read this book. At the same time, some of us have been following this horrifying debacle since the ‘70s, or the ‘80s, and when one is already virtually hyperventilating with alarm over this issue, reading this novel doesn’t do much good. 
But more to the point, fiction is an excellent medium to promote an urgent political cause, but it’s only effective when the other story elements are outstanding. When the format doesn’t do justice to the characters or provide clarity to the reader, the effort is wasted. 

I read other reviews saying that if one patiently reads the chaotic scramble at the beginning, eventually it will all come together and make sense, but honestly, if nothing makes sense two hundred pages in, then you can stick a fork in me, cause I’m done.
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If you read just one book this year, it should be The Deluge. It's not an easy book to read, for a variety of reasons: the subject matter is incredibly heavy; it's really long, and portions of it are dense; it asks a lot from the reader both from an intellectual and an emotional standpoint. But I'm calling it now: This eerily prescient, meticulously researched, terrifyingly relevant near-future cli-fi dystopia is going to go down as one of the most important books of this generation. I think I may have already said that about Markley's phenomenal previous novel, Ohio, and the fact that he published that book and this one back to back literally blows my mind.

Charting a path from 2013 through 2040, The Deluge is a new kind of American epic, following a large cast of characters as they navigate the consequences of climate change: escalating weather events, widespread famine and disease, corporate overreach, religious zealotry, political extremism and corruption, economic fallout, inequality, inaction, tyranny. Their perspectives are varied -- they are a scientist, a drug addict, a neurodivergent mathematician, activists and revolutionaries, ecoterrorists, politicians, ordinary people drawn into extraordinary circumstances -- and at first their stories unfold on completely separate trajectories, until they begin to intersect in ways great and small.

This is not one of those dystopian novels that picks up decades or centuries after the effects of climate change have been wrought on the world. Rather, Markley puts you right in the middle of our current crisis: what is happening to our planet, right now, which so many of us (myself included, most of the time) would prefer to blissfully ignore. In great detail, with astounding clarity, he lays out the science for us. Will it all play out exactly the way it does in this novel? Probably not -- I hope not -- but Markley's fictionalized account feels utterly believable and prescient all the same.

Even more than the science, though, what The Deluge has is heart. It is, despite its disturbing, violent, relentless content, an emotionally compelling, hopeful book about the endurance of the human spirit and our ability to choose to do the right, hard thing. The narrative is largely focused on love and family, relationships and sacrifice, acceptance and healing: the ways life goes on in the midst of a undeniably present crisis. Markley brought me to tears several times. This is a book that you simply cannot be unaffected by, one way or another. The characters, the science, or both: You will be moved, your eyes will be opened. Absolutely everyone should read this, although the sad reality is that the people who most need to read it likely will not.

The Deluge is an urgent call to action, a profound, thought-provoking, unflinching exploration of the irreversible effects of climate change. Markley's description of one of his characters actually sums it up best: He "describe[s] the situation with such magnetism, simplicity, conviction, doom, and hope." It is our duty to listen, and hopefully, to act.
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If you’ve never considered the adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” I’ve got the perfect example for you. The cover of Stephen Markley’s “The Deluge” has blue skies, puffy clouds, and what looks like a tear at the top. Tame verging on dull. What’s inside is nearly 900 pages that will leave you frustrated, agitated, and perhaps a bit scared about climate change and our environment.
Yes, it’s fiction, but if you read Markley’s debut “Ohio” in 2018, you know he puts all his energy, imagination, and storytelling skills into his stories. In this one, he takes on a tale of possible climatic devastation and a group of people most vested, impacted, or damaged by it.
The cast of characters is long, very long, beginning with Tony Pietrus, a climatologist who speculates about what will happen as certain molecules overheat in the ocean and produce deadly methane. From there, the novel skips ahead several years to introduce an eco-terrorist, a neurodivergent mathematical genius, a conflicted war veteran, a young activist, a drug addict … and the list goes on.
From the oil spill off the Gulf Coast to the beautiful Wyoming mountains to political Washington, D.C., groups and individuals are struggling to grasp what may lie ahead. Each has a personal stake as the ecological crisis looms. Floods, storms, dust bowls, climbing temperatures … and deaths. Some are willing to fight, ethically or not, to prove their point. From doomsayers to naysayers, everyone gets a say in Markley’s book.
Politics and politicians come into play, including a character resembling a recent past president. There’s even an evangelical preacher who believes he can pray away the planet’s problems. Unfortunately, there are just too many characters to keep up with or bond with emotionally. You will cheer for some and hate others just as you do in real life. There are horrors and violence intermingled with hope and values.
The novel has been described as an “intellectualized look” at the ecological future. There are lots of “big” words, almost scholarly in places, but that adds to the authority and immediate need to address climate change. The author obviously has done his research or has an extensive knowledge base about the topic. Unfortunately, those who need to heed his words probably won’t buy the book or get past its first 200 pages. 
At times, “The Deluge” slogs ahead like the political quagmire that surrounds immediate action. Other times, it sleeps along as the characters race to fulfill their personal goals. It covers a lot of ground, 2013 to 2039 and beyond, weaving fiction and fact along with true-life headlines. It is an epic story in both length and scope. 
The novel has received some criticism for its length and deep pool of characters. It is long, and it is complex, but so is the environment. Little in ecology happens in a day, but the more we learn, the more we can do to provide our fragile environment. Consider “The Deluge,” fictional as it is, as another scenario in the climate survival playbook.
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Markley's work is complex, a bit confusing, thought provoking, and a commitment. 

I enjoyed the concept. I can see the importance of the book and the topics covered in this dystopian novel. I can absolutely see why others really enjoyed this book, and readers that like the writing style and the genre will probably enjoy this work as well. 

I found the multiple characters, multiple POVs told in different voice (1st person, 3rd person, and even 2nd), and the switch between all of these based on the chapter confusing and in my brain led to a convoluted plot that lost me more than once. I think I tried for 6 months to read this book, and Long books don't usually bother me, 

Overall, It was a lot but I can see the appeal for others.
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Overall, a really good and somewhat realistic prediction of what may come given the tensions in the United States and the ever accelerating and threatening backdrop of climate change. It is long and starts a bit slow. It can also get a bit confusing at the beginning before you really get a handle for the different character perspectives you are reading. You will not like all of the characters and that is absolutely fine. Others you will grow to like. At least one gets a somewhat redemptive arc he doesn't deserve (he rapes someone in an early chapter and this is not even mentioned again... which is disturbing). As you get further in and characters start colliding and the story picks up it is a much more enjoyable book.
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This book was a beast to finish, but I'm so glad I didn't quite. This was horrific since it is rooted in so much truth, and honestly everyone should read this despite the darkness and the length.
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