Originally published in 1954, Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns is a twisted pandemic parable and a tragicomic gem.
Strange things are afoot in the English village where the Willoweed family live. First, the river floods in June. The family wakes to find ducks sailing around the drawing room and dead peacocks bobbing in the garden. But the flood is only the beginning of their troubles.
All of a sudden the miller goes mad and drowns himself. Then the butcher slits his throat. A peculiar illness is spreading through the town and picking off its victims one by one.
From the Willoweed cottage, sisters Emma and Hattie watch the tragedy unfold. They have grown up in the village, cared for by their meek father and bullied by their grandmother with her enormous ear trumpet. The wild and mysterious countryside is the only world they have ever known. But as the virus spreads and hysteria grips everyone around them, they realize their lives are about to change forever.
Sophia Fairclough and Me
I was first introduced to Sophia Fairclough in 1985 by my new English teacher, the kind who came to lessons without notes and charmed those susceptible to such charm with his raw excitement for good...Read more