Year of Wonders

Fae and I decided that for the next little while, we’re going to give each other one book to read and one movie to watch every month.

In March, I watched Holes. I made Fae watch Camp Rock and read Magic’s Pawn, one of my absolute favourite fantasy books of all time.

And I read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

The novel is alarmingly descriptive. I say alarmingly because it’s a book about the Plague. Based n true events, the book is set in a small English village. When a delivery of fabric arrives from London, suddenly one of the townspeople is struck with the Plague. It spreads, as Plagues do, and many people die. The town minister convinces them to quarantine themselves so that they don’t spread the disease to other villages. They do, and within a year the Plague has swept through the village and cut it’s population in half.

I have to preface this with the fact that I really did like the book, I was entertained by it the whole way through and it was definitely very vivid.

That being said, I found the main character highly unbelievable. One of the typically perfect characters, barely a misstep. Raised poor and never educated, but somehow able to speak very articulately and read and write well within a year of evening lessons. Somehow able to notice things that more educated people don’t. And somehow able to be significantly more virtuous than all her neighbours and family members. Suddenly able to heal the sick and birth babies.

On top of that.. the book changed completely in the last 50 pages or so. Completely. It was like a whole different story. I’m not sure it was needed, and frankly, it confused me enough to have to re-read certain parts.

But still, as I said.. it was a good read. It was a very interesting look at what people do when faced with that kind of destruction. And definitely an insight into what people of faith do when their faith in God is challenged.

Some lines:

“I open the door to my cottage these evenings on a silence so thick it fall upon me like a blanket. Of all the lonely moments of my day, this one is always the loneliest.”

“… The reverend was but eight and twenty. And yet his young man’s face, if you looked at it closely, was scored with furrows at the brow and starbursts of crows’ feet beside the eyes - the marks of a mobile face that has frowned much in contemplation and laughed much in company. I have said that it could seem a plain face, but I think that what I mean to say is that it was his voice, and not his face, that you noticed. Once he began to speak, the sound of it was so compelling that you focused all your thoughts upon the words, and not upon the man who uttered them. 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.”

There were a lot of great descriptions of the Plague, but I’ll spare you. I hope I never get the Plague….

Oh and by the way, this was book #25. Which means I have to read 25 more between now and June 26th.

1 Comment

  • By Court, April 10, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    I feel like I’ve read this book before, but it must just have been something similar, because I read it before this one was published. Either way, I want to read this now! It’s going on my summer list.

    So you’ll be pretty busy reading 25 books in 2 months, eh? Once school’s over, you can totally do it! The 50 books in a year and the book/movie trading are really cool ideas. :)

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