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The Illness Lesson Reviews

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams

The Illness Lesson

Clare Beams

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1 review

Imprint: Doubleday
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 6 Feb 2020
ISBN: 9780857526311

Written in intensely vivid prose and brimming with insight, The Illness Lesson is a powerful exploration of women's bodies, women's minds and the time-honoured tradition of doubting both.

4 stars out of 5
Sarah Gilmartin
13 Feb 2020

"a colourful, memorable story about women’s minds and bodies, and the time-honoured tradition of doubting both"

Beams’ depiction of the treatment of women at the hands of men – even supposedly enlightened men – recalls The Fever by Megan Abbott. There are echoes of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, too. Beams keeps us guessing as to the girls’ culpability, though a rushed ending sweeps them off stage, choosing instead to focus on Caroline’s story. The author lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, most recently at Carnegie Mellon University. Her short story collection We Show What We Have Learned won the Kirkus US Best Debut in 2016. It was praised for its feminist insights, something which can also be said of her debut novel.