Illness Lesson

£14.99

1871. At the farm of Samuel Hood and his daughter, Caroline, a mysterious flock of red birds has descended. Samuel, whose fame as a philosopher is waning, takes the birds’ appearance as an omen that the time is ripe for his newest venture. He starts a school for young women, guiding their intellectual development as he has guided his daughter’s. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Samuel’s vision – revolutionary, as always; noble, as always; full of holes, as always – takes shape. It’s not long before the students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms: rashes, seizures, verbal tics, night wanderings. In desperate, the school turns to the ministering of a sinister physician – just as Caroline’s body, too, begins its betrayal. As the girls’ condition worsens, Caroline must confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities of her world, the ones who insist the voices of the sufferers are unreliable.

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Description

‘A modern scream of female outrage. A masterpiece’ ELIZABETH GILBERT

‘Astoundingly original . . . belongs on the shelf with your Margaret Atwood’ NEW YORK TIMES

Haunting, intense and irresistible, The Illness Lesson is an extraordinary debut about women’s minds and bodies, and the time-honoured tradition of doubting both.

In 1871, at an elite new school designed to shape the minds of young women, the inscrutable and defiant Eliza Bell has been overwhelmed by an inexplicable illness.

Before long, the other girls start to succumb to its peculiar symptoms – rashes, tics,
night wanderings and fits.

As the disease takes hold, teacher Caroline Hood tries desperately to hide her own symptoms, but
the powers-that-be turn to a sinister physician with dubious methods.

Does Caroline have the courage to confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities of her world
and protect the young women in her care?

‘You want to know how horrifying things happened while decent people looked on and did nothing? Read this novel’ MARY BETH KEANE

‘Subtle, clever, suspenseful . . . builds to a shocking climax’ DIANE SETTERFIELD

‘A Sunday Times Book to Read in 2020: A classic ghost story for fans of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Deborah Levy, Jeffrey Eugenides’ SUNDAY TIMES STYLE

Additional information

Weight0.407 kg
Dimensions22.2 × 14.4 × 2.9 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Hardback

Pages

271

Language

English

Edition

Hardback original

Dewey

813.6 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K

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