As brutal as tender can be and likewise. A constant subliminal counterbalance is offered through the simple acknowledgement of life and death in a way that reminds us that simpler times were not easier times. When gathering the goods for a simple meal or a simple salve for a wound involve complex actions, there is not alot of time for pretense. This story clearly depicts that people have always sought refuge in the same things we do today. God, the pursuit of knowledge, chemical relief, mysticism. Yet in a time when people were more tightly knitted together, the consequences for our decisions, beliefs and actions bore fruit much more directly and much more clearly.
This book is a good reminder that when you throw people in hot water, you find out what they are really made of. Do they become hard like an egg, soft like a carrot, or change the water like tea?Those we thought were strong can become weak and go into hiding. Those we thought were weak emerge as being a kind of moral compass and guide for a confounded people.
This was a beautiful story, well written on every level. In spite of the setting being a small plague ridden village in 1666, you will see everyone you know in that town.