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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.
The Pesthouse finds the author not just on his own best form, but arguably the best form any English writer has shown in the last couple of years Spectator. A devastated America exists in an imagined future. Its technologies are forgotten, its communities have splintered and its refugees, reversing the course of history, travel eastwards in search of safety and a new start.
Review: The Pesthouse by Jim Crace | Books | The Guardian
The Pesthouse is set in a future America remote enough that technology has faded into history and become superfluous. As a result, the story has a sense of timelessness it could just as easily be set hundreds of years ago, rather than in an era in which coins, ...