I read this one on my e-book reader* and loved it (despite the distinctly non-uplifting nature of the subject matter). Geraldine Brooks is a great writer and I will devour everything I can find by her in the future. I still think her best book is People of the Book, but I’m biased toward those kinds of stories (a la the Poisonwood Bible), especially if they are about old books and/or libraries. Aaaand I haven’t read all of her books yet.
A Year of Wonders is about a little village in England in 1666. The plague comes to the village and the village minister convinces the villagers that, to prevent the spread of the disease to surrounding communities, they will cut themselves off from contact with the outside world until they are clear of the plague (a year). It’s told by Anna, a young woman who works as a servant for the minister and his wife, and the story describes all of the struggles the villagers contend with during their year of isolation. Not the least of these is ignorance: the lack of understanding of how the infection is transmitted, as well as the general opinions of the uneducated villagers, many of whom are governed by their fear of death.
Because it’s one of my favourite all-time books, I can’t help saying a few words about this one too:
People of the Book is narrated by a few different people (I love when writers can make that work) over different generations, and tells the story of the Sarajevo Haggedah, a book created in medieval Spain and rediscovered in 1996 by an Australian book restorer, Hannah. It’s a colourful story based loosely in history (something else that I love in books) and Brooks’ writing really brings the characters to life.
*I always make a note of when I read something on my e-book reader because for some reason I expect not to like books as well when they aren’t physical paper in my hands. So I continue to be amazed when I actually like a book that I’ve read on my e-reader. Perhaps this is because I started out by reading only the free books that come with the e-reader (Jane Eyre, Pride and Predjudice, The Scarlet Letter, etc etc) on the bus. I hate the bus (perhaps that negative sentiment has made it’s way into my unsurity about my e-reader).