Year of Wonders – Brooks / The Sibyl – Lagerkvist

year of wonders

Year of Wonders – Geraldine Brooks

This is my second book by Geraldine Brooks after Nine Parts of Desire, and the first fiction. I’d been tossing between Year of Wonders and People of the Books, but finally picked up this one after the nudge from Historical Fiction course I was following on After reading this, I am now a firm fan. I’ll be happy to read more of her books any time.

Year of Wonders tells the period in the village of Eyam, England, in the year of 1666. It was the only place apart from London that was hit by the plague, and the whole village decided to cut itself from the world to avoid spreading the plague further. The story is told from an unlikely hero of a housemaid of the village’s rector and his wife – a point of view that allows us to have a peek into the decision makers (the rector essentially) and the ordinary villagers.

Without giving anything away, the ending seemed slightly off in tone compared to the rest of the book, as if Brooks left the novel for a while before coming back to it to finish it. I wasn’t super bothered by it, just thought it was a bit odd. But apart from that, the writing is consistently quite wonderful.

Rating: 4/5

the sibyl

The Sibyl – Pär Lagerkvist

The Sibyl is a really amazing, unexpected read. I didn’t have book set in Turkey to read while traveling in the country, so I opted to read this, as it is set in Delphi, Greece (the site which I went to last year). The narration has folk/fairy tale quality to it, and the premise is fascinating. The main character is an oracle priestess in the Apollo temple in Delphi, who fell into disfavor by god. Her tale is told to a wandering man who caught a glimpse of and in effect got cursed by Jesus. Sounds crazy? Yes. I was absolutely enchanted. I will definitely look fore more Lagerkvist’s books. Too bad many of them seem hard to find. It was the perfect book to read while traveling, as it was only under 150 pages, physically light, and the story has a good balance of being not too complex but stimulating enough.

Lagerkvist was awarded Nobel Prize of Literature in 1951. His most famous work was Barabbas – about the Barabbas who was chosen to be released instead of Jesus. It seems that a lot of his works are a weird mix of the old and the new religious beliefs, or the critiques of them. In any way, they seem thought provoking. His other famous book is The Dwarf, which I remember to have read good things about at Jackie’s. Another one I’m looking forward to reading.

Rating: 4.5/5

End of 2013 and Beginning of 2014

These two books ended my reading journey in 2013. I picked up a good pace about half a year into 2013, and read the total of 19 books and 20 short stories. Not yet close to my golden reading year a couple of years back, but I’m feeling more positive about 2014. We’re only two weeks in and I have actually finished 4 books! It’s a good start for the year.

Where ever you are, hope you have a good reading year ahead!


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14 thoughts on “Year of Wonders – Brooks / The Sibyl – Lagerkvist”

  1. I loved ‘Year of Wonders’ but I agree that the last chapter spoiled the book – it would have been far better if it had been left out.

    It is great to see that you enjoyed ‘The Sibyl’. Lagerkvist deserves to be much more well known than he is and I look forward to trying this one at some point.

  2. I agree with you on Year of Wonders. It was a lovely book but quite random at the end.

    I definitely will add The Sibyl to my reading list! Sounds fantastic.

  3. Hi!! Happy new year! Wow, 4 books already! Like you, I didn’t get to read much in 2013. It was my first year of working full time and it left me with even less time to read, which is sad.

    I’m still on my first book this year, and guess what it is, Game of Thrones, ha ha! xx

  4. By the way, I have Year of Wonders on the TBR. Isn’t it about the March sisters’ dad? Or have I been informed wrong?

    And I’m intrigued about Barabbas, just added that to my wish list. :)

    1. No, Year of Wonders is about the plague village in England. March is about Little Women’s dad (which is the one I’m least interested in reading from Brooks actually).

      I haven’t followed Game of Thrones series at all, maybe one of these days I watch the series :)

      And happy belated new year too Claire!

      1. Ohh.. then I probably have March, I forget.

        The Game of Thrones book I like reading because we’ve seen all 3 seasons of the tv series so why not read to get the backstories and other details, which has been really helpful in our understanding more of the story.

    1. I also have read Lust, Caution Lol! I actually watched the movie first (which is fantastic btw) then because it was so good I immediately ordered the book, then read the story, because I was so curious (I haven’t read the other stories in the book). I remembered you as well when I read it :). So what do you think about it? Having watched the movie, I have to say this time I think the movie exceeds the book/story, it was so intense.

      1. I do remember that you’ve read it but I think you said you’d reread with me. Sorry!! I will definitely watch the movie especially now that you say it’s better than the book. I loved the story, but you know I’m in love with Chang’s writing so it’s expected. I just am amazed at how she brings her story together on the page, how subtle and yet so alive.

        1. No I hadn’t read it. I picked it up around last month too (or late November), so I think we coincidentally read it around the same time. I love her writing too, so I’m gonna read the rest of the book slowly :)

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