Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague [With Earbuds] (Playaway Adult Fiction) Preloaded Digital Audio Player – 1 Oct 2010
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Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders describes the 17th-century plague that is carried from London to a small Derbyshire village by an itinerant tailor. As villagers begin, one by one, to die, the rest face a choice. Do they flee their village in the hope of outrunning the plague or do they stay? The lord of the manor and his family pack and leave. The rector, Michael Mompellion, argues forcefully that the villagers should stay put, isolate themselves from neighbouring towns and villages and prevent the contagion from spreading. His oratory wins the day and the village turns in on itself. Cocooned from the outside world and ravaged by the disease, its inhabitants struggle to retain their humanity in the face of the disaster. The narrator, a young widow called Anna Frith, is one of the few who succeeds. Together with Mompellion and his wife Elinor, she tends the dying and battles to prevent her fellow villagers from descending into drink, violence and superstition. All is complicated by the intense, unacknowledgeable feelings she develops for both the rector and his wife. Year of Wonderssometimes seems anachronistic as historical fiction. Anna and Mompellion can occasionally appear to be modern sensibilities unaccountably transferred to 17th-century Derbyshire. However there is no mistaking the power of Brooks's imagination or the skill with which she constructs her story of ordinary people struggling to cope with extraordinary circumstances.--Nick Rennison --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"The novel glitters . . . A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe." --The New Yorker
"Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair." --O, The Oprah Magazine
"Brooks proves a gifted storyteller as she subtly reveals how ignorance, hatred and mistrust can be as deadly as any virus. . . . Year of Wonders is itself a wonder." --People
"A glimpse into the strangeness of history that simultaneously enables us to see a reflection of ourselves." --The New York Times Book Review
"Elegant and engaging." --Arthur Golden
"Year of Wonders has it all: strong characters, a trememdous sense of time and place, a clearly defined heroine and a dastardly villain." --The Denver Post
"The novel glitters . . . A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe." "The New Yorker"
""Year of Wonders"is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair." "O, The Oprah Magazine"
"Brooks proves a gifted storyteller as she subtly reveals how ignorance, hatred and mistrust can be as deadly as any virus. . . ."Year of Wonders"is itself a wonder." "People"
"A glimpse into the strangeness of history that simultaneously enables us to see a reflection of ourselves." "The New York Times Book Review"
"Elegant and engaging." Arthur Golden
"Year of Wonders has it all: strong characters, a trememdous sense of time and place, a clearly defined heroine and a dastardly villain." "The Denver Post"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
THE YEAR OF WONDERS is not a typical work of historical fiction. According to the book's Afterword this story was inspired by the true story of the villagers of Eyam, Derbyshire and their own historical account of the Plague. While hiking through the English countryside Geraldine Brooks encountered a finger post pointing the way to the 'Plague Village'. Months of painful research concluded in the writing of this book, and a recreation of how a village struggled against a deadly disease while trying to maintain social order. While Brooks took some liberties in the development of the plot, but some aspects are rooted in truth including several true identities and names. The title of the book reflects worldly events and the strong belief that God works in mysterious ways.
I only wish that Brooks included more social and historical background to the events that were simply alluded to.Read more ›
Brooks's writing plunges you straight into the fears, smells and surroundings of this village and its terrible encounter with the plague, while keeping you hanging onto the characters and their beautifully-developed problems and lives. A devastating sting in the tale seals a superb book off brilliantly.
Grab it for your holiday this summer - you'll race through it and can have the satisfaction of looking a cut above the pink bonkbuster readers too.
The book centres around Anna, a young woman who escapes infection. She is one of the central figures, helping to nurse the afflicted and trying to continue village life insofar as that was possible. The tale follows her throughout the plague year and examines her relationship with the various villagers.
You do get a real sense of what it must have been like to live amidst the devastation and the practical difficulties they faced. I was horrified at the descriptions of the disease and how it took hold so savagely.
The only part that spoiled to book for me was the ending. After a very readable and convincing tale it suddenly became farcical and unbelievable. It's as if a completely different person took over writing the ending, with disastrous results. Still a very enjoyable read though.
I enjoyed the majority of the descriptive writing and the subject matter - I am fascinated by diseases such as the Plague and their symptoms and ultimately awful conclusion. The research on the illness itself, plus the medical "science" of the time was very well done and well conveyed in the book as she described the plague year that the village endured - although I felt she could have done a lot more in terms of the atmosphere in the village. At some points the writing felt quite wooden and superficial with no real shivery-horror feeling that should have been there. "Whoops, another death, oh dear, what a shame." I also at some points wasn't sure what timescale we were working in - how long had the tailor been there before the plague arrived? Why was there apparently such a long gap between the tailor's death and then the first deaths of the villagers, especially with such a virulent disease?
I liked the idea of the book being narrated by one central character - Anna. However, I found it almost impossible to believe she would speak and act as she did, given the period of time the book is set in, the deprivation the villagers would have endured (even more so when the quarantined was effected) and the fact that she was ultimately from a (very) poor mining family. Her manner and way of speaking would have much more suited to a wealthy family. Also in terms of ability I found it really hard to believe that she would have been able to turn her hand to so many different things (including lead mining!).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant but I did cry.
I've been to Eyam and I know what happened but the book made it real.
I listened to the audio book which was read by the author. Read more
I read this when on holiday in Chesterfield and afterwards just had to visit the village of Eyam, a few miles away. I suspect I shall read this more than a few times.Published 1 month ago by DizzyDoris
Knew a lot about the plague and Eyam so enjoyed it, but felt the ending became less historical and a bit more gratuitous!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
First of all this is a work of historical FICTION. If one wants to read a more objective account of what happened in this village, do not read this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by blossom