Francine Prose Reviews Jim Crace's 'Pesthouse'

From UI Arts Center Relations:
Former Writers’ Workshop visiting faculty member Francine Prose reviewed Pesthouse, a new novel by Jim Crace, in Sunday's New York Times. Crace, one of England’s leading writers, will read from Pesthouse at Prairie Lights Books at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21. Prose’s review is available only to registered New York Times readers. An excerpt appears below:
‘It’s a tribute to Crace’s skills that we so rapidly get our bearings in a radically altered landscape. It’s the future, it’s America, something cataclysmic has occurred. But it’s hard to know just what, since history is among the things that have fallen by the wayside, along with literacy, modern science (pediatric medicine dictates strapping a pigeon to a sick child’s feet until the illness enters the pigeon) and 20th-century notions of gender equality: “That was how the duties of the world had been assigned. Crying for the women. Spitting for the men.” The social Darwinism of the early 21st century has been replaced by one that’s considerably redder in tooth and claw.
‘But still, love is love. Franklin and Margaret, who narrowly escape the latest toxic event, turn out to be made for each other. Franklin is a good-hearted fellow with a bad knee and an older brother whose bossiness he relies on. Margaret is a redhead, with all that implies, even in the barbaric future. Worse, she is desperately ill with a dreaded plague whose victims have their body hair removed and are then taken to recover or die in the isolated cabin of the novel’s title.’

"Love in a Time of Dystopia," by Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review, 4/29/07

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