Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Newes from the Dead

What if you woke up in the middle of your own autopsy? That's the provocative premise behind Mary Hooper's Newes from the Dead, based on a true story. In 1650, a British servant girl named Anne Green was wrongfully sentenced to death, but the hanging didn't completely kill her. Instead, she lies in her coffin, barely alive, and drifts back through the events that brought her to her present condition. At the same time, a young medical student prepares for the dissection of a convict's corpse - Anne Green.

Between these two overlapping stories, Hooper brings 17th century England richly to life, with everyday details of life in the servant classes, the blossoming state of medical science, the unspeakable gender and class inequities, and of course, the question . . . will the doctors realize Anne is alive in time? And if they do, will she simply be sentenced to death again?

--Maureen K.

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