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The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams
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The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams
Paperback $17.00
Mar 09, 2021 | ISBN 9780525565475

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  • Mar 09, 2021 | ISBN 9780525565475

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  • Feb 11, 2020 | ISBN 9780385544672

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“Brilliant, suspenseful. . . . A masterpiece.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls

“Astoundingly original.” The New York Times Book Review

“This is Alcott meets Shirley Jackson, with a splash of Margaret Atwood. . . . Unusual and transporting.” Washington Post

“A meticulously crafted suspense tale seething with feminist fury.” O, The Oprah Magazine

“Masterfully considered. . . . Clare Beams’ cool, cutting prose hypnotically evokes the oppression of female bodies and minds.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Part horror, part case study and . . . part feminist polemic. . . . [The novel’s antagonist] is a true and timeless 21st century villain.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Both savagely acute in its portrayal of misogyny and tenderly hopeful in its trajectory.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“[This] gripping novel meditates on how an all-male establishment can denying women’s pain, and how the consequences can shape a society.” —Vanity Fair
“Expertly blends 19th-century and modern diction. . . . Steering [her] protagonist toward liberation, [Beams] seem to suggest that an honest reckoning with misogyny might produce not only solidarity, but also change.” —The Atlantic

“Frightening, suspenseful, and timely, The Illness Lesson explores the crushing weight of oppression and the indefatigable power of female defiance.” Esquire

“A haunting psychological thriller about society’s preoccupation with controlling women’s minds and bodies. . . . [An] arresting, beautifully written debut novel.” Newsday

“An astonishing book. . . . Beams shows a kind of mastery in yoking the natural to the surreal and linking grief and fear to rage.” New York Journal of Books
“Provocative. . . . A scathing indictment of early toxic masculinity, a measured diatribe against male-dominated medical and educational institution.” The Washington Independent Review of Books

“Clare Beams’ writing is a revelation. . . . A fascinating mix of genres (the school story, body horror, paean to feminist anger), [The Illness Lesson] manages to achieve all the things that the best historical fiction should.” Irish Independent

“Beams takes risk after risk in this, her first novel, and they all seem to pay off. Her ventriloquizing of the late 19th century, her delicate-as-lace sentences, and the friction between the unsettling thinking of the period and its 21st century resonances make for an electrifying read.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Luminous. . . . This suspenseful and vividly evocative tale expertly explores women’s oppression as well as their sexuality through the eyes of a heroine who is sometimes maddening, at othertimes sympathetic, and always wholly compelling and beautifully rendered.” Booklist (starred review)
“Daring. . . . [A] powerful and resonant feminist story.” Publishers Weekly


Joyce Carol Oates Prize FINALIST 2023

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