Sunday, September 30

This weekend, I sat on the couch with half an eye on football, reading Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague. Based on a actual events, it's the story of an English village whose inhabitants are beset by the Black Plague in 1665. At the behest of their pastor, they voluntarily quarantine themselves off from the rest of the world so that the contagion would not spread. The story is told through the eyes of the pastor's housekeeper. It's a good book - not a great one - but absorbing and richly detailed. A particular strength is the obvious understanding Brooks has for the passionate love between mother and child - it comes through in all sorts of ways and angles. A few anachronistic attitudes peak through, particulary regarding the ultimate fate of the housekeeper, and I don't think the character of the pastor as it's ultimately revealed is adequately prepared for. In fact, the last thirty-or so pages of the book really don't work - they are just too melodramatic. Plus, if you're looking for an inspiring story of faith affirmed, don't look here. It's not anti-religious, at all, but it does portray a gradual weakening of Christian faith beset by a horror like the Plague, which, we must admit, would not be an unrealistic consequence of seeing one-half of your village drop dead within a year.
Looks like another energetic night for Joseph. He slept a bit in the early evening, but now is up and ready and good to go, lying on the floor of my study with his very own computer keyboard (an old one I put down there for him to bang on).

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