Sarah Raymond is a writer and artist from Toronto, Ontario. Her young adult novel, Signs of Martha, comes out in spring 2011 with Great Plains Publications. Scroll on down for musings on writing, art and other perils of domestic life. Homemade drawings included.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Latest Read: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (Volume 1: The Pox Party)

M.T. Anderson pushes the boundaries of disturbing, fictional settings. In his novel Feed, he pitches himself into a technologically-perverse future. In Octavian Nothing, the author visits the past--the slave trade in 18th century America.

Octavian is a boy who lives with his mother at the College of Lucidity, where his tutors investigate whether their black subject can learn a classical education as well as a white one. When the men aren't lavishing Octavian with Latin and violin lessons, they terrorize him. Deliberately-inflicted smallpox ravages Octavian's home. He rebels against his owners and flees. Octavian Nothing is a coming-of-age horror, a perverse moment in history set to fiction, and a treatise on subjugation.

At my local library, Octavian Nothing is filed under teen fiction, but anyone who can stand the pain will appreciate the antiquated language and powerful story.

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