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The Leper's Companions: A novel

Julia Blackburn

Format: Hardcover

Language: English

Pages: 208

Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (April 4, 1999)

ISBN: 0679439846

Format: PDF / Kindle / ePub

Size: 5.5 MB

Downloadable formats: PDF


The Leper's Companions begins, we know only that the narrator has lost someone she loves. In her bereavement, she creates a past in which she might both lose and find herself: a fifteenth-century village in a land of saints and spirits, inexplicable afflictions and miraculous awakenings. With a band of pilgrims -- among them an old man, his pregnant daughter, a priest, a dying woman, and a leper -- she discovers a beached mermaid, watches a priest drive madness from a woman's mouth, enters a mossy forest inhabited by a hunted man covered in shaggy hair, and witnesses a map being digested in the belly of a ravenous woman.

Moving effortlessly between the magical and the real, the past and the present, the journey of the narrator and her companions transcends the physical terrain and becomes a fantastical quest for rebirth. We are skillfully ushered into the emotional lives of each of the travelers as they reflect and ultimately redefine the life of the narrator.

The Leper's Companions reaffirms Julia Blackburn's status as one of the most original writers at work today, as she makes the fictional narrative do the work not only of storytelling but also of invention.