Louis Roubien has much to be thankful for. Now an old man, the head of a large family, his many hard years of work on the land have transformed him from a peasant farmer into a prosperous and satisfied freeholder, distributing his largesse among his relatives and the local community. But with success has come hubris, and when the rains, hitherto a harbinger of plenty, come, and the banks of the River Garonne swell and burst, Roubien sees everything for which he has striven swept away by the raging waters of the flood. His livelihood taken from him in one fell blow, it remains to be seen whether Roubien will at least be left his life, and the lives of those he holds dear. The Flood, along with the complementary stories presented here, the celebrated 'Blood' and 'Three Wars', is a fascinating example of Zola experimenting with surrealist styles, in a departure from the dark realism for which he is more commonly known. The eternal theme of man versus nature writ large, it is a timely reminder of our fragility and impermanence before the unyielding elements.