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.