The Wave – Virginia Moffatt

‘Perhaps I am wrong, but I have weighed the odds, and finding them so stacked against me, I have made my choice. If this is the remaining time allotted to me, I will spend it doing what I want. The sun is shining, the surf is up. It’s a perfect day for the beach … Perhaps there are some people out there who feel the same. If so, it would be good to have company.’

The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma has erupted, causing a massive landslide which will, in turn, create mega-tsunamis which will hit coasts in America, Ireland, Africa and the UK at 8am tomorrow. In Cornwall, widespread panic is hindering the evacuation process and, as all holiday-makers to the South-West know, routes in and out of the area are very easily brought to a standstill at the best of times. No one left on the South West peninsula in the morning will survive. Against this backdrop of fear, a small band of strangers gather together on Dowetha Cove. Having recognised that escape from the coming wave is unlikely, they form new connections and wait.

I loved this novel – I was utterly gripped, and a emotional mess by the end. Each character gets a chapter in turn, allowing the reader to understand their present choices and an insight into their past decisions. At the same time, we’re aware we’re joined by thousands online, watching as this isolated group live out the hours before the wave arrives. The conversations the characters have with their families are heart-wrenching, and it’s impossible to not imagine yourself in such a predicament. I really enjoyed Moffatt’s Echo Hall – they’re quite different in style and Moffatt is clearly a very versatile writer – but I think this one is even better. It’s one of those books that stays with you, long after you finish the final page.

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