The Ralstons told me about another of the families they had helped. In the late summer of 2017, they spent more than five weeks searching for the body of a 26-year-old Irishman named David Gavin. He and some friends had taken a break from their roadtrip to jump off a bridge over the Kinbasket reservoir in British Columbia, Canada. He surfaced briefly, but then went down again and didn’t come back up. Gavin’s family had flown in from Ireland days after the accident and had set up a makeshift camp on a dusty gravel road overlooking the bridge. After a few days, the Royal Canadian Mounted police called off the official search, but a RCMP diver gave the Ralstons’ phone number to the Gavins. David’s father, Mick, credited the Ralstons with keeping the search and his family going that summer. “If they left, we had nothing else,” Mick told me. “They knew that, and they could see it in our eyes and talked to us every day. They couldn’t pull back … [Read more...] about Bring up the bodies: the retired couple who find drowning victims
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These people had, of course, already experienced severe trauma. Government preparation for and response to the humanitarian disaster had proven woefully inadequate. More than 1,800 died across the Gulf Coast region, which also suffered more than $100bn (£65bn) in damage. The flooding put roughly 80% of New Orleans under water and displaced more than 400,000 residents. Some who didn’t escape were drowned and entombed in their own homes. Others were stranded in squalid conditions at the Superdome, the city’s football arena. Orders circulating through the police department authorised officers to shoot looters as the city fell into a state of collapse. … [Read more...] about 10 years after the storm: has New Orleans learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina?
(and through George’s head flashes the cover of the old paperback called How To Achieve Good Orgasm that her mother keeps in one of her bedside cupboards, from way before George was born, from the time in her mother’s life when she was, she says, young and easy under some appleboughs) … [Read more...] about Costa novel award 2014: How to Be Both by Ali Smith