Anna C Riggs, October 1, 2010 (view all comments by Anna C Riggs)
I first heard of this author and book when I saw a short blurb about a book of the Plague. I've always been fascinated with the people and how they dealt with such a horrendous disease, which wiped out so much of the population during the 15th century.
What I didn't expect was the depth and heart-wrenching story that I read, only to find out that this was an actual town (Eyam) whose people made the most extraordinary decision when the Plague seeped insidiously into their town. They cut themselves off from the world in order to stop the spread of it beyond their own town boundaries. Two thirds of the people died either of the plague or from the craziness that overtook others who had nothing more to lose. Engrossing and surprising at the compassion of some and the ugliness of others, I read "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" from cover to cover without stopping. Geraldine Brooks did her homework on writing this book and I applaud her prose and honesty.
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Zelda, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Zelda)
Year of Wonders is spectacular to say the least. Both Brooks' insight and imagination are on display and prove remarkable as the horror of the times come alive. This book certainly exceeded my expectations and made a lasting impression.
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"Review A Day"
by Suzy Hansen, Salon,
"The novel is filled with moments of compassion and sadness, as when Anna comes to terms with the lingering presence of the dead....Yet with the same steady hand Brooks uses to paint the beauty of the English countryside, she details the gruesome minutiae of the disease. No sooner do her descriptions of a mother's love for her child or a housewife's simple, daily chores lull and mesmerize, than Brooks pans the landscape, bestowing the same respectful observation on a putrid plague boil." (read the entire Salon review)
by The Guardian,
"Year of Wonders is a staggering fictional debut that matches journalistic accumulation of detail to natural narrative flair."
by Publishers Weekly,
"With an intensely observant eye, a rigorous regard for period detail, and assured, elegant prose, Brooks recreates a year in the life of a remote British village decimated by the bubonic plague....Brooks keeps readers glued through starkly dramatic episodes and a haunting story of flawed, despairing human beings. This poignant and powerful account carries the pulsing beat of a sensitive imagination and the challenge of moral complexity."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Though the historical detail is absorbing, it is the story of Anna — her courage, her struggle to understand God's will — that is Brooks's most wondrous touch. A."
by The New Yorker,
"The novel glitters....A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe."
by The New York Times Book Review,
"[A] vivid drama... Brooks has clearly done her homework... she gives us what we want from historical fiction: a glimpse into the strangeness of history that simultaneously enables us to see a reflection of ourselves."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Picturesque... evocative... impressively rendered... Brooks's portrait is as faithful as we can hope for."
by Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife and The Last Time They Met,
"Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders is a wonder indeed: a marriage of language and story unlike anything I have ever read. The novel gives the reader a remarkable glimpse into a 17th century horror, but does so with both compassion and exuberance. Read it for the inventiveness of the language alone a genuine treat."
"Beautiful... deeply moving."
by The Denver Post,
"A superb work of historical fiction."
by Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio,
"I honestly cannot recall the last time I read a novel as riveting, haunting, and authentically rendered as Year of Wonders. This book is astonishing, a small wonder itself."
In 1666, a young woman comes of age during an extraordinary year of love and death. Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a "plague village" in the rugged hill country of England, "Year of Wonders" is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history, written by the author of "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women."
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In 1666, a young woman comes of age during an extraordinary year of love and death.
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