Saturday, October 10, 2009


Okay, I am officially a very enthusiastic fan of Connie Willis. Her novel, Doomsday Book, stunned me. It's 578 pages long, and Willis succeeds in stretching the suspense out over that many pages--agonizing, but in the best possible way.

Like To Say Nothing of the Dog, Doomsday is based in the Oxford's "history" (time travel) department in the mid 21st century. Unlike TSNOTD, it is not a comedy. Doomsday's story line follows two protagonists: Kivrin, as she travels back to the 1300s, and Mr. Dunworthy, who remains in Oxford. Their experiences complement each other, both set at Christmastime, contrasting futuristic and medieval medical care in a pandemic. The secondary characters are well developed, and it was far too easy for me to become attached to them. One of the elements I enjoyed most was the role of religion in the lives of different characters in crisis. Some are superstitious, several are infuriatingly hypocritical, a few are unexpectedly inspiring, and one character's faith is genuinely moving.

Willis has such an imagination. I found her portrayal of life in the 1300s fascinating. I also had the urge to wash all my towels and sheets in scalding hot water by the time I finished. And I'm yearning to visit Oxford again--preferably in this century.


Jackamo said...

I just added it to my Goodreads list. I'm looking forward to reading it! Did you see my blog post??

Manalive said...

That sounds like a great book! Can I borrow it?