cover of book

The Fixed Stars: Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season
by Brian Conn
University of Alabama Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-1-57366-816-3 | Paper: 978-1-57366-153-9
Library of Congress Classification PS3603.O5425F59 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6


A fable-like tale of a small community afflicted by a mysterious plague


Juxtaposing barbarity and whimsy, Brian Conn’s The Fixed Stars is a novel that has the tenor of a contemporary fable with nearly the same dreamlike logic.


At the novel’s heart are the John’s Day celebration and the interactions of a small community dealing with a mystery disease. Routinely citizens are quarantined and then reintegrated into society in rituals marked by a haunting brutality. The infected and the healthy alike are quarantined. In a culture that has retreated from urbanism into a more pastoral society, the woman who nurtures spiders and the man who spins hemp exist alongside the mass acceptance of sexual promiscuity. Conn delivers a compelling portrait of a calamitous era, one tormented by pestilence, disease, violence, and post–late capitalism. An unflinching look at a world impossible to situate in time, The Fixed Stars is mythic and darkly magical.

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