Friday, September 4, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks fictionalizes a true story of a village racked by bubonic plague in rural England in the 16oos. No stranger to tragedy, the maid Anna Frith narrates the story of the town's relegation to "plague village"and the ensuing isolation and terror. I loved this book because it shows how love and community can endure and strengthen, even amid the horror of the Black Death. Brooks doesn't hold back in describing the plague's symptoms--this trait was reason enough for me to read the book. (I have a bit of a fascination with "disease fiction" or "symptom stories.") One can't help but feel superior that the poor souls never connected the outbreak to fleas. However, the reader feels nothing but admiration for the villagers' will to survive, to endure in their encapsulated, self-sufficient world. Not a difficult read by any means, I recommend this book as great historical fiction, containing a modicum of modernity (the characters seem extremely psychologically evolved by 17th c. standards). And, if you're a plague buff, you must read it. The bubos are a sight to see in your mind's eye.

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