The Storm: A Novel

by Debbie Stoller

On the first page of The Storm, Margriet de Moor reveals the novel’s ending.

Two Dutch sisters decide to trade places for a weekend, and one dies in a catastrophic flood before ever returning home. Despite the reader’s awareness of this inevitable tragedy, de Moor manages to inject the book with incredible suspense, and at times, a shaky hope that the death she declared on page one might not actually occur after all.

Lidy and Armanda live on opposite sides of the same Amsterdam park: Lidy with her husband and daughter, Armanda with their parents. Armanda, who harbors silent jealousy for her older sister’s perfect life, proposes that the two women switch places for a change of pace. Armanda will attend a party with Lidy’s husband, while Lidy will go to a birthday party for Armanda’s godchild in a nearby rural province. What neither woman knows is that a freak weather occurrence is creating a storm that will cause one of the largest floods the Netherlands has ever seen. ~De Moor smoothly alternates between Armanda’s and Lidy’s stories, following Armanda to old age and Lidy to the final moments before her early death. Her prose sometimes reads as rather terse and scientific (perhaps because it’s translated), but it works well for her harrowing descriptions of a biblical flood and Lidy’s unemotional, instinctive desire to live. The Storm is a gripping survival thriller, but it is also a nuanced exploration of the relationship between two sisters who can never quite separate themselves from one another, even as one lies dead miles from home.

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