Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Prayer for the Dying

A Prayer for the Dying  By Stewart O'Nan     This work of fiction is different. Most books are written in 1st person narrative  (I went ...) or 3rd person description (he/she went ...) but this book is written in 2nd person, from the readers viewpoint. It is at first glance hard to grasp but quickly flows as the story gets started. A Prayer for the Dying is the story of Jacob. He lives in the small town of Friendship, Wisconsin after the Civil War. His jobs include undertaker, deacon and sheriff. This sleepy town has little excitement and few changes on a daily basis. A diptheria epidemic begins to spread. Decisions need to be made quickly. People are frightened, getting sick and dying within days. Jacob becomes the organizer of events to help the sick, bury the dead and decide the fate of the town. Friendships (town name could not be more appropriate) responsibility lays heavy on this one gentle being. Jacob's belief in g-d, his prayers, his beloved wife, innocent baby and deep commitment to the welfare of this town torment every ounce of his being. This story is disturbing, wonderfully written and it will take a few days to get these vivid, detailed images out of my head.

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