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The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #01)

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The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #01) Cover

ISBN13: 9780763624026
ISBN10: 0763624020
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

I'll say right out that The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is disturbing on a number of levels: it makes historical America seem shockingly contemporary (or, perhaps, futuristic); it explores theories of scientific experimentation and whether the end (a chance at a supposedly "better" world) always justifies the means; and it portrays the frightening isolation of individuals in a so-called free society. But it is also like no other young adult novel I've ever read, written with such wit and precision that I still think about some of the images and characters.
Recommended by Alexis S., Powells.com

This is an astonishingly imagined and well-researched book. Octavian Nothing's life is chronicled in the style of a slave narrative, but at times reads like a futuristic nightmare. Though living in apparent luxury, Octavian and his mother are slaves to an experiment by a group of rational philosophers in pre-revolutionary Boston. The craven nature of this relationship is both shocking to read and clearly metaphorical. While examining notions of freedom, scientific ethics, and rationality, as well as national- and self-delusion, this haunting book will stay with you for months to come.
Recommended by Lori M., Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A gothic tale becomes all too shockingly real in this mesmerizing magnum opus by the acclaimed author of Feed.

It sounds like a fairy tale. He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother — a princess in exile from a faraway land — are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments — and his own chilling role in them.

Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson's extraordinary novel takes place at a time when American Patriots rioted and battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

Review:

"The story's scope is immense, in both its technical challenges and underlying intellectual and moral questions....Readers will marvel at Anderson's ability to maintain this high-wire act of elegant, archaic language and shifting voices." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A brilliantly complex interrogation of our basic American assumptions. Anderson has created an alternative narrative of our national mythology, one that fascinates, appalls, condemns — and enthralls." The Horn Book

Synopsis:

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age 16, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

Synopsis:

Presented in eighteenth century-style prose, this unique historical novel opens in a dreamlike setting and then moves progressively to stark realism.

Synopsis:

Now in paperback, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Andersons mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

"Andersons imaginative and highly intelligent exploration of . . . the ambiguous history of Americas origins will leave readers impatient for the sequel." — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

About the Author

M. T. Anderson is the author of several books for children and young adults, including Feed, which was a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. M. T. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

ipsofecteau, September 23, 2006 (view all comments by ipsofecteau)
Reading this book is like seeing a flickering image made of light at a distance and approaching it to find that is in fact made of iron. The flowry language and academic tone seem to distance the reader from Octavian at the beginning of the book. But as it continues, he becomes more and more real until the end when you realize that he is as alive to you as anyone you have ever met.

The other characters and voices in the book are distinct and fascinating. Octavian's mother and Mr Sharp in particular tell truths that make the reader (at least this reader) lay down the book and stare into space.

This is a brilliant combination of history, scientific inquiry, twisted family dynamics and gripping storytelling.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(61 of 84 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780763624026
Author:
Anderson, M. T.
Publisher:
Candlewick Press (MA)
Subject:
Science
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - Other
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - History
Subject:
Liberty
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
People & Places - United States - African-American
Subject:
Historical - United States - Colonial
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
Historical - United States - Colonial & Revolutionary
Subject:
Historical / United States / Revolutionary Periods
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Subject:
historical fiction;slavery;fiction;ya;young adult;american revolution;revolutionary war;historical;national book award;boston;science;african americans;history;smallpox;printz honor;african american;philosophy;experiments;teen;fantasy;race;freedom;novel;1
Subject:
historical fiction;slavery;fiction;ya;young adult;american revolution;revolutionary war;historical;national book award;boston;science;african americans;history;smallpox;printz honor;african american;philosophy;experiments;teen;fantasy;race;freedom;novel;1
Copyright:
Series:
Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
September 12, 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1-COLOR
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.14x6.82x1.30 in. 1.56 lbs.
Age Level:
14-17

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Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Michael L. Printz Award Winners
Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » Other
Children's » Historical Fiction » United States » Colonial and Revolutionary Periods
Children's » Situations » General
Children's » Situations » Physical and Emotional Abuse
Young Adult » General

The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #01) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Candlewick Press (MA) - English 9780763624026 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I'll say right out that The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is disturbing on a number of levels: it makes historical America seem shockingly contemporary (or, perhaps, futuristic); it explores theories of scientific experimentation and whether the end (a chance at a supposedly "better" world) always justifies the means; and it portrays the frightening isolation of individuals in a so-called free society. But it is also like no other young adult novel I've ever read, written with such wit and precision that I still think about some of the images and characters.

"Staff Pick" by ,

This is an astonishingly imagined and well-researched book. Octavian Nothing's life is chronicled in the style of a slave narrative, but at times reads like a futuristic nightmare. Though living in apparent luxury, Octavian and his mother are slaves to an experiment by a group of rational philosophers in pre-revolutionary Boston. The craven nature of this relationship is both shocking to read and clearly metaphorical. While examining notions of freedom, scientific ethics, and rationality, as well as national- and self-delusion, this haunting book will stay with you for months to come.

"Review" by , "The story's scope is immense, in both its technical challenges and underlying intellectual and moral questions....Readers will marvel at Anderson's ability to maintain this high-wire act of elegant, archaic language and shifting voices."
"Review" by , "A brilliantly complex interrogation of our basic American assumptions. Anderson has created an alternative narrative of our national mythology, one that fascinates, appalls, condemns — and enthralls."
"Synopsis" by , Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age 16, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.
"Synopsis" by , Presented in eighteenth century-style prose, this unique historical novel opens in a dreamlike setting and then moves progressively to stark realism.
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Andersons mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

"Andersons imaginative and highly intelligent exploration of . . . the ambiguous history of Americas origins will leave readers impatient for the sequel." — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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