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and life along the winding road

Friday, November 15, 2013

An Imperfect Lens by Anne Roiphe

Alexandria in the late 1800s was a hotbed for the cholera epidemic and Anne Roiphe has used this setting for her novel An Imperfect Lens.
She follows three French scientists as they land in Egypt where they discover a dirty port and sewer filled streets. They experiment and grow cultures obtained from a local hospital, trying to find how the cholera epidemic is spreading. While the three scientists, are Louis Pasteur's assistants, other characters in the book are fictitious.

My thoughts:
I was amazed at how much of the globe was affected by the cholera pandemic. It was widespread and it flooded through New York in 1832. I found it interesting to read how people unknowingly touched something that had been infected by others and used their fingers to eat food, thus allowing the bacterial microbe to enter the body. I did find parts difficult to read. For example, the use of animals in experimentation and the detailed descriptions of how cholera ravaged the body. Anne Roiphe has obviously done a great deal of research in putting together the fictional account of Nocard, Roux, and Thuillier and their life in Alexandria.


Joanne said...

sounds well researched and interesting. Even today,disease can run rampant. Nature's way of thinning the herd can be brutal

Tracy Terry said...

I can understand why you found this a difficult read at times as I'm sure I would also. Great review though, thanks for the recommendation.