Tom Lee's Reviews > Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
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's review
Apr 23, 2012

liked it
Read from April 17 to 22, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Really good; finishes very strongly, with plenty of emotion and drama.

I'm tempted to dock a point for how much of the present-day action revolves around trying and failing to get people on the phone -- actually, this is a problem for the medieval scenes, too: lots of "then she went to the barn but he wasn't there. but she thought he might be by the gate, so she went there, but he wasn't there either." There's tons of running around in a way that isn't very interesting -- and, for the modern scenes, a way that isn't very realistic (email was invented by the time this book was published! and *certainly* would be before time travel is invented...).

Willis also can't quite decide what the modern-day epidemic is for -- a contrast between our modern mastery of disease, or a Rube Goldberg plot device to justify the insane irresponsibility of Gilchrist and the series of mishaps that makes Kivrin's adventure possible? Too often it's the latter.

Still: the characters are wonderfully well-drawn -- particularly Agnes, Rosemund, Lady Imeine and Father Roche -- and the panic, desperation and exhaustion at the book's climax feel very real.

Reading this, I was reminded most of The Handmaid's Tale, I suppose because both works make the reader's modern sensibilities collide with a retrograde culture. Doomsday Book certainly isn't in THT's league, but it's still very good.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Christopher Nice review, you should check out To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I thought was a stronger, better book by the same author with the same time-travel premise.

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