The tragic fate of a well-to-do farming family is the focus of the dramatic novella The Flood by Emile Zola.
From the perspective of the family's patriarch, the seventy-year-old Louis Roubien, Zola provides the reader with emotionally charged and detailed descriptions of the large family's desperate struggle against the rising flood waters and of the destruction of their farm.
Emile Zola is considered to be the most important representative of the literary school of Naturalism. In this novella, which is thrilling to the very end, his literary theme is the helplessness of human beings and their dependence upon the unpredictable and indomitable forces of nature.
More info about the Rougon-Macquart series at Wikipedia.