Anna North’s book Outlawed is the story of Ada. In 1893, on the day of her wedding, the 17 year old’s life looks good—she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid, who is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women.
Jim Shepard’s book, Phase Six, takes us not so far into the future with a prescient story that is by now all too familiar. In a tiny settlement on the west coast of Greenland, 11-year-old Aleq and his best friend, frequent trespassers at a mining site exposed to mountains of long-buried and thawing permafrost, carry what they pick up back into their village, and from there Shepard's harrowing and deeply moving story follows Aleq, one of the few survivors of the initial outbreak, through his identification and radical isolation as the likely index patient. Karen Russell said “If you’ve been waiting for the great novel of the COVID-19 era, it’s in your hands.With heroic humor and a poet’s ear and eye for what makes humanity worth saving...”