Jan. 13th, 2017

kenjari: (Govans)
Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks

This novel is based on the story of the real English village of Eyam, which quarantined itself during the plague of 1665. In Brook's book, the plot centers around Anna Frith, a young widow and mother who survives the plague but is deeply changed by it. During the year that the village cuts itself off from the rest of the countryside, Anna becomes close friends with Elinor, the rector's wife, as they do their best to aid the villagers as they all struggle with sickness, death, and its aftermath.
Brooks' writing is lovely, and her characters are terrific. The villagers' wide range of reactions to the plague are seen through Anna's largely compassionate eyes, which also helps to add a lot of nuance to the villagers' reactions to the plague, which range from courage and charity to madness and violence.I also liked that Anna, even while striving to do good for her fellow villagers, is not always saintly in her thoughts and feelings towards them. She's much more realistic and complex than that.
My only caveat about reading Year of Wonders is that the subject is grim enough that one probably does not want to stretch out one's reading over it.

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