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In this fascinatingly imaginative novel, Julia Blackburn has decimated all the rules, creating a magical tale that is part fable, part allegory, part present, part past, and wholly genuine and poetic.
The unnamed protagonist has recently lost someone she loved, and her solution is to abandon the present, and the overwhelming pain. The seamless narrative lands her in a medieval seaside village where mermaids wash ashore, devils haunt in packs, a child is born with the head of a fish, and where one day, quite out of nowhere, there emerges a sage and wandering leper. The leper leads a small group of the villagers, including the protagonist, on a journey to Jerusalem, a harrowing pilgrimage that compels all the travelers to confront their deepest selves.
Exquisite and lyrical, The Leper’s Companions is a heart-rending tale by one of our most fiercely original storytellers.
“This slim book possesses a remarkable intensity. . . . [A] hypnotic vision of the worlds horror and beauty, banality and sacredness—and of the frailty and splendor of the human mind.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Profound . . .dreamy. . . . Blackburn [has] made something deep and poetic.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“In the end, there is a sense not merely of satisfaction, but almost of exhilaration.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer