This used to be America, this river crossing in the ten-month stretch of land, this sea-to-sea. It used to be the safest place on earth. America as we know it has fragmented. Its machines have stopped, its communities have splintered, its history is virtually forgotten, and the great migration has started: eastwards, through the mountains and down ...
This used to be America, this river crossing in the ten-month stretch of land, this sea-to-sea. It used to be the safest place on earth. America as we know it has fragmented. Its machines have stopped, its communities have splintered, its history is virtually forgotten, and the great migration has started: eastwards, through the mountains and down the perilous Dreaming Highway, to ships rumoured to sail to a land of greater promise. Into this landscape stumbles Franklin, who has left his home only to find new ties in a pesthouse perched above a valley. Margaret, suffering the early stages of plague, has been carried up from Ferrytown to recuperate or die alone. When her village is destroyed, she and Franklin set out together, compelled to leave everything they know behind them. "The Pesthouse" is realized with the flair, conviction and intensity for which Crace is admired all over the world. It is the story of an America adapting to a 'medieval future' without technology, without science, without social cohesion; and it is the story of how two people find strength in one another against all the odds.
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If there are days when you think the world might be better off if America went away and we could start over fresh--this book is a cautionary tale. Although there are vague references to a plague-type disease and radioactive/chemical deathly clouds responsible for the demise of life as we know it, this story is far in the future where society has deteriorated to a hunter-gatherer/agrarian day-to-day existence without rules, government, courts, or technology; stability is a thing of the past and vulnerability is a constant. The story follows the lives of two main characters who struggle to survive lawlessness, chaos, and anarchy and retain their hope for the future as well as their humanity. This is a good book.
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