I, Sarah Steinway

Mary Carter. Tovah Miriam, $15 trade paper (202p) ISBN 978-0-692-98524-3
In Carter’s provocative debut, a great flood transforms the world in the near future. As the tides in California’s Bay Area rise and high ground diminishes, 75-year-old widow Sarah Steinway hires builder Emmanuel Epps to construct a sturdy treehouse in an oak tree on her San Pablo Bay property. With seawater covering the world’s lowlands, Sarah moves permanently into the treehouse, where she spends the time writing down her thoughts and reading the Torah. With the help of a kit given to her by a well-prepared survivalist, who also gave her weapons and training to use them, Sarah spends five years facing loneliness, hunger, illness, delusions, and occasional visitors such as Emmanuel, who invites her to join him on dry ground. Some of the people she encounters are unwelcome, among them a woman who tries to attack her (“she was eventually going to slash my flesh, and that is how survival kicked in to my formerly civilized little self”). As the years roll on, Sarah confronts her inner demons amid her concerns about her mental deterioration. Her thoughts are rich with eerily insightful political and philosophical observations, and she makes for an engaging narrator. Carter’s page-turning portrait of a woman surviving the apocalypse is hauntingly memorable. (Self-published)
Reviewed on : 08/31/2020
Release date: 12/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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