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Year of Wonders

de Geraldine Brooks

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7,992388842 (3.97)685
Based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village," in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries bubonic infection to this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A visionary young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off in a deadly quarantine to prevent the spread of disease. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As the death toll rises and people turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself.… (més)
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(Mira totes les recomanacions 21)

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» Mira també 685 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 389 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The novel is a work of fiction based on a true event. The bubonic plague (“The Black Death”) hit the small English village of Eyam, and the village, led by Michael Mompellion (“radical but much admired town minister”), decided to quarantine themselves believing the plague was part of God’s judgment for their sins.

..The story focuses on Anna, her losses, and her heroic handling of what was happening considering how fear and grief led townspeople to turn against one another (so disheartening how fast this happens when we are afraid and resources are scant). It also centers on the concept of God vs. Nurture. Anna, turns away from the concept that the plague is God’s punishment, and focuses on learning how to care for others with her increasing knowledge of the application of herbs….and in the process she becomes more independent, a better critical thinker, and stronger and more resilient than those around her.

📖

—In her introduction to the work, the author writes “The world was changing rapidly, and its central focus shifted from God to man.” She is making reference to the changes taking place in the 1600s (beginning of the Age of Enlightenment including advances in medicine and science, etc.) juxtaposed to Oliver Cromwell’s Puritanism. —Anna’s character embodies this struggle: rebirth in terms of knowledge and shift from repentance (religion) to herbs/medicine (science) as the answer.
📖
—The author indicates that Eyam’s quarantine was voluntary. She states she was not able to find any other example of “communal self-sacrifice” in her research, and makes reference to how the houses of plague victims in London at the time were sealed , locking in the sick and the healthy, with no one to bring them supplies. Which makes Eyam’s residents that much more remarkable.
📖
—Without giving too much away, there was something that happened towards the end that soured the novel for me a bit, but it’s also indicative of human nature, so I was not surprised. Let’s just say someone fell of their pedestal for Anna and it was a big fall!lol The end itself, was also a little quirky….it was ‘awright’ I guess. There were sections that felt a bit slow, but then it would pick up again and reclaim my interest.

Quotes I liked:

“Why would I marry? I’m not made to be any man’s chattel. I have my work, which I love. I have my home…but more than these, I have something that very few women can claim: my freedom. I will not lightly surrender it.”

“Dark and light, dark and light…that was how I had been taught to view the world. The Puritans who had ministered to us here had held that all actions and thoughts could be only one of two natures: godly and right, or Satanic and evil. But Anys Gowdie confounded such thinking. There was no doubt that she did good: in many ways, the well-being of our village rested more on her works, and those of her aunt, than on the works of the rectory’s occupant. And yet, her fornication and her blasphemy branded her a sinner in the reckoning of our religion.”

“By gathering and sorting my own feelings so, I was finally able to fashion a scale on which I could weigh my father’s nature and find a balance between my disgust for him and an understanding of him; my guilt in the matter of his death against the debt he owed me for the manner of my life.”

“Why, I wondered, did we, all of us, both the rector in his pulpit and simple Lottie in her croft, seek to put the Plague in unseen hands? Why should this thing be either a test of faith sent by God, or the evil working of the Devil in the world? One of these beliefs we embraced, the other we scorned as superstition. But perhaps each was false, equally.”

“For if we could be allowed to see the Plague as a thing in Nature merely, we did not have to trouble about the grand celestial design that had to be contemplated before the disease would abate. We could simply work upon it as a farmer might toil to rid his field of unwanted tare, knowing that when we found the tools and the method and the resolve, we would free ourselves, no matter if we were a village of sinners or a host of saints.”
54w1 likeReply

“We live, we live, we live, said the hoofbeats, and the drumming of my pulse answered them. I was alive, and I was young, and I would go on until I found some reason for it. As I rode that morning, smelling the scent of the hoofcrushed heather, feeling the wind needle my face until it tingled, I understood that where Michael Mompellion had been broken by our shared ordeal, in equal measure I had been tempered and made strong.”

“We have spoken much since then about faith: the adamantine one by which the doctor measures every moment of his day, and that flimsy, tattered thing that is the remnant of my own belief. I see it like the faded threads of a banner on a battlement, shot-shredded, and if it once bore a device, none could now say what it might have been. I have told Ahmed Bey that I cannot say that I have faith anymore. Hope, perhaps. We have agreed that it will do, for now.”
  Eosch1 | Jan 2, 2022 |
I appreciate the research that was clearly put into this book. For me, though, there was no character development, nothing learned as the book progressed. I knew going in that the content wouldn't be upbeat, but there was no other element that appealed to me to make finishing the book worthwhile. ( )
  hissingpotatoes | Dec 28, 2021 |
I enjoyed this vivid and engrossing historical novel. It is based on the true story of a small town in England that contracted plague during 1665 and made the heroic decision to seal itself off from the outside in order to prevent the plague from spreading to its neighbors. Geraldine Brooks writes beautifully and reminds me of Hardy in her descriptions of village life and in her portraits of the villagers, all of who depend on their neighbors for survival. A village is an efficient organism and every person, however seemingly insignificant, plays some small part to keep it working. Illness or death has the potential to quickly upset the delicate balance that holds things together.

Year of Wonders charts the slow and steady unraveling of the village as the plague chews it way through every family and every house. The story is told from the point of view of a young woman who serves the village priest and his wife and who works with them to try and prevent the spread of the disease and ease the suffering of its victims. Brooks, through the eyes of our narrator, casts a keen and sympathetic portrait of the villagers and of the small details of their lives. Most historical novels honor the prevailing dictum that authenticity be established with some use of period dialect and detail even if the story must be told using todays language. Brooks, however, immerses the reader in 17th century England with language that sounds pitch-perfect for its time and an attention to detail that displays an extraordinary amount of research.

The novel is well plotted and moves quickly even though the reader is encountering strange and arcane terms in just about every sentence. Brooks writes with such sympathy for her characters and with such deep knowledge of the time and place that I had that wonderful feeling of being a visitor to a different world. Year of Wonders reminds me of two of my favorite historical novels, In A Dark Wood Wandering by Hella Haasse and The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar both of which, like Year, are deeply researched and fully imagined stories by gifted writers that transcend the typical historical novel. If you have read either Dark Wood or The Abyss, I suspect you will really like Year of Wonders.

Like other readers, I have a problem with the ending that for me simply didn't ring true. It is as if the writer just ran out of gas and took an overly dramatic turn (or a nod to Hollywood) in a way that feels false. In any event, it was a minor letdown from a book that is a terrific debut novel. If Brooks continues her craft of deep research and outstanding writing, she won't have a large body of work but will stand out as among the very best of historical fiction authors. Those of us who love historical fiction will all be the better for it. ( )
  blnq | Dec 26, 2021 |
I did like this book for several reasons- the rhythm and style of the language hit the right notes for historical fiction; the story of the village is actually based on a real happening in a Peaks District village during the Great Plague; and it was certainly a riveting, easy read. Now, the epilogue which many don't care for. I didn't mind it and, while I admit it might have been improbable, it seemed hopeful after all Anna had been through. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
This was a book club book. I would not have selected it as the subject matter is gloomy. It is just not my personal taste. ( )
  Travelgem | Dec 9, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 389 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Discriminating readers who view the term historical novel with disdain will find that this debut by praised journalist Brooks (Foreign Correspondence) is to conventional work in the genre as a diamond is to a rhinestone. With an intensely observant eye, a rigorous regard for period detail, and assured, elegant prose, Brooks re-creates a year in the life of a remote British village decimated by the bubonic plague.
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (6 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Brooks, Geraldineautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Diano, FrancescaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Títol original
Títols alternatius
Data original de publicació
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O let it be enough what thou hast done,
When spotted deaths ran arm'd through every street,
With poison'd darts, which not the good could shun,
The speedy could outfly, or valiant meet.

The living few, and frequent funerals then,
Proclaim'd thy wrath on this forsaken place:
And now those few who are return'd agen
Thy searching judgments to their dwellings trace.


- From Annus Mirabilis, The Year of Wonders, 1666, by John Dryden
Dedicatòria
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For Tony
Without you, I never would
have gone there.
Primeres paraules
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I used to love this season.
Citacions
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Good yield does not come without suffering, it does not come without struggle, and toil, and yes, loss.
God warns us not to love any earthly thing above Himself, and yet He sets in a mother's heart such a fierce passion for her babes that I do not comprehend how He can test us so.
And so, as generally happens, those who have most give least, and those with less somehow make shrift to share.
Inasmuch as he knew what love meant, he knew he loved me, and all the more so when I gave him the boys.
This was no stealthy retreat. The Hall hummed like a struck hive.
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

Based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village," in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries bubonic infection to this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A visionary young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off in a deadly quarantine to prevent the spread of disease. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As the death toll rises and people turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself.

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