The Levee

William Kent Krueger‘s novella, The Levee, explores the cost of survival during the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, one of the worst natural disasters in US history. At 80 miles wide, it submerged 27,000 square miles of land and displaced nearly 640,000 people across from Illinois to Louisiana.

It is during this calamity that Krueger has set his novella. To save a family trapped by the rising water, four men in a rowboat battle the deluge: three are convicts coerced into service by the local prison; the fourth, their leader, is driven by concealed motives.

When they arrive at Ballymore, an ancestral home protected by a towering, circular levee, not everyone in the family is eager to be rescued. As the flood’s threat increases and time ticks away, the crew and the family must make critical decisions.

The Levee explores the human struggle against nature and how greed, cowardice, and courage motivate people to choose different paths. Although the short audiobook (3 hours 36 minutes) was entertaining, the story was just too short to develop the characters. I didn’t care what happened to them. I’ve listened to other books narrated by J.D. Jackson, and he isn’t one of my favorites.

Led Zeppelin fans might be interested in this little factoid—the band recorded the iconic song, “When the Levee Breaks” in 1971 about the 1927 Mississippi Flood. 3 stars.

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