Thursday, July 3, 2008

Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks was originally published in 2001. My paperback copy is 315 pages. I've been leery of reading Brooks and I wanted to try this novel before I read anything else by her. I figured since it was a "novel of the plague" it should be right up my alley. Although it was good, Year of Wonders has confirmed my suspicion that I'm not going to enjoy most historical novels. It's not that Year of Wonders was bad, it's just that other novels about plague have been more suited to my liking, such as Ann Benson's The Plague Tales and Connie Willis' Doomsday Book. They both have a science fiction bent. Even Eifelheim by Michael Flynn had some elements of historical fiction, but it was more science fiction. The conclusion is that I'll take my plague books straight up, nonfiction and full of facts, or I enjoy an element of science fiction in them. Also, just between us, I had to suspend belief and ignore certain facts in parts of this novel. Rating: 3

Synopsis from cover:
When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year,1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice: convinced by a visionary young minister they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease. But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

"I used to love this season." first sentence

"The Puritans, who are few among us now, and sorely pressed, had the running of this village then." pg. 7

"We live all aslant here, on this steep flank of the great White Peak." pg. 11

"God warns us not to love any earthly thing above Himself, and yet He sets in a mother's heart such a fierce passion for her babies that I do not comprehend how He can test us so." pg. 33

"I have said that he loved a pot. I should add that the pot did not love him, and made of him a sour and menacing creature." pg. 37

"It was a voice full of light and dark. Light not only as it glimmers, but also as it glares. Dark not only as it brings cold and fear, but also as it gives rest and shade." pg. 45

No comments: