Monday, July 20, 2015

Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks)

Geraldine Brooks’s Year of Wonders has an interesting premise that’s based on a true story.  The plague is sweeping through a tiny English village in the mid-17 th Century, carried from London by a visiting tailor.  While some of this novel is suspenseful, heartbreaking and downright scary, I found that much of the writing was dry and therefore, I had a difficult time getting through it.

The account is effectively told through the eyes of Anna, a villager who is seeing her family and neighbors die one by one.  The villagers themselves, led by their rector, decide to forego their first impulse of fleeing and thereby infecting other towns.  Instead, they isolate themselves to try to contain the terrible disease; panic, superstition, and suspicion of witchcraft follow, which one would think would lead to a can’t-put-it-down read.  However, that didn’t happen — at least for me.

Unfortunately, Year of Wonders suffers from being approximately thirty pages too long.  In addition, many of the events at the end are implausible and maybe even downright ridiculous.  I was hoping for much more from this novel, but I didn’t get it.