Thursday, November 03, 2005

Top 20 Books, #14

Number 14 on my list is a classic, Albert Camus' The Plague.

Published in 1947, this tour de force by Camus is one of the most frightening books I've ever read.

Especially in light of today's news headlines, the simple narration of an onset of Bubonic Plague resonates into the 21st century.

A tasting:

"... we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away..."

"No longer were there individual destinies; only a collective destiny, made of plague and emotions shared by all."

"The truth is that nothing is less sensational than pestilence, and by reason of their very duration great misfortunes are monotonous."

"No, we should go forward, groping our way through the darkness, stumbling perhaps at times, and try to do what good lay in our power. As for the rest, we must hold fast, trusting in the divine goodness, even as to the deaths of little children, and not seeking personal respite."

"... what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise."

Needless to say, as the possibility of an avian flu pandemic hovers on the periphery of our national consciousness, you may want to re-visit this fantastic novel.

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