Arts & Leisure

Book review: The End of October — by Lawrence Wright

(Knopf Publishing Group)
The premise of Lawrence Wright’s apocalyptic new thriller is eerily familiar: a mysterious new virus turned global pandemic infects untold numbers of people as scientists race to stop it. Microbiologist Henry Parsons, a smart, driven man, passionate about his science, centers the story, risking his life to fight the disease. But who would want to read such a book at a time like this? This reader was surprised to find the book oddly comforting and informative; this particular flu strain was far more deadly than the one we are dealing with in reality, and the ingenuity and expertise shown by the experts was impressive. When life feels like you are living in a novel, reading a novel that is partially mirroring life helps you discern the difference. And Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Looming Tower” among other award-winning books, knows how to write a gripping narrative, peopled with engaging characters and well-researched supporting scientific facts. In Wright’s telling, the destruction of our fragile social fabric is swift and devastating, but his depiction of economic destruction and global tensions is more on point. This book is dedicated to the men and women who have committed their lives in the service of public health.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury
 

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