The End of October by Lawrence Wright [8/10]

Written before the pandemic but about a pandemic, “The End of October” is a well-paced, solidly written, fascinating literary thriller by Pulitzer winner Lawrence Wright. When legendary microbiologist and epidemiologist Henry Parsons flies to Indonesia to investigate nearly fifty mysterious deaths, he is launched onto a race against time that straddles the globe. Steeped in the theory and history of pandemic diseases, this prophetic and informative novel is never expository for its own sake, but rockets along. Parsons is an appealing and quirky character, both geeky and ruthlessly practical, and the author parades an array of other believable characters, including his family. Wrenching but believable, The End of October is highly recommended for anyone on either side of the literary-fiction-versus-thriller-genre divide.

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