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The Leper's Companions

A Novel

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
In this fascinatingly imaginative novel, Julia Blackburn has decimated all the rules, creating a magical tale that is part fable, part allegory, part present, part past, and wholly genuine and poetic.

The unnamed protagonist has recently lost someone she loved, and her solution is to abandon the present, and the overwhelming pain.  The seamless narrative lands her in a medieval seaside village where mermaids wash ashore, devils haunt in packs, a child is born with the head of a fish, and where one day, quite out of nowhere, there emerges a sage and wandering leper.  The leper leads a small group of the villagers, including the protagonist, on a journey to Jerusalem, a harrowing pilgrimage that compels all the travelers to confront their deepest selves.

Exquisite and lyrical, The Lepers Companions is a heart-rending tale by one of our most fiercely original storytellers.
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In this fascinatingly imaginative novel, Julia Blackburn has decimated all the rules, creating a magical tale that is part fable, part allegory, part present, part past, and wholly genuine and poetic.

The unnamed protagonist has recently lost someone she loved, and her solution is to abandon the present, and the overwhelming pain.  The seamless narrative lands her in a medieval seaside village where mermaids wash ashore, devils haunt in packs, a child is born with the head of a fish, and where one day, quite out of nowhere, there emerges a sage and wandering leper.  The leper leads a small group of the villagers, including the protagonist, on a journey to Jerusalem, a harrowing pilgrimage that compels all the travelers to confront their deepest selves.

Exquisite and lyrical, The Lepers Companions is a heart-rending tale by one of our most fiercely original storytellers.
Product Details
Paperback (208 pages)
Published: September 5, 2000
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780679758389
Other books byJulia Blackburn
  • The Emperor's Last Island

    The Emperor's Last Island
    A Journey to St. Helena
    In 1814 Napoleon Bonaparte arrived on St. Helenad surreal exile that would last until his death six years later. "A resonant meditation on exile, fame, the stories we tell about ourselves (and) the bigger stories we tell about our great figures."--Los Angeles Times Book Review.

    The Book of Color

    The Book of Color
    In the late 19th century, an English missionary arrives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, intent on wiping our fornication among the natives. Instead he incurs a curse that strikes first his dark-skinned wife, then his son and grandson. But is the curse supernatural--or a white man's guilty fascination with an alien new world? "A hypnotic, cryptic, haunting exploration of the power of memory."--Boston Globe.

    Old Man Goya

    Old Man Goya
    In 1792, when he was forty-seven, the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya contracted an illness that left him stone deaf. Yet he continued to interact with the world and to create, spending the next thirty-five years in a world emptied of sound but bursting with images of pageantry, cruelty, and pathos. In this brilliant, idiosyncratic book – a kaleidoscope of biography, memoir, history, and meditation – Julia Blackburn vividly imagines the artist’s world during this time. She recreates the artist’s friendships and love affairs and breathes life into the subjects of his paintings: an ethereally lovely duchess; the spoiled grotesques of the Bourbon court; the atrocities of the Napoleonic wars. Old Man Goya is a rare work of empathy and imagination, a stunning portrait of the mind and life of a great artist.

    With Billie

    With Billie
    A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day
    From Julia Blackburn, an author whose ability to conjure lives from other times and places is so vivid that one suspects she sees ghosts, here is a portrait of a woman whose voice continues to haunt anyone who hears it. Billie Holiday’s life is inseparable from an account of her troubles, her addictions, her arrests, and the scandals that would repeatedly put her name in the tabloid headlines of the 1940s and 1950s. Those who knew her learned never to be surprised by what she might do. Her moods and faces were so various that she could seem to be a different woman from one moment to the next. Volatile, unpredictable, Billie Holiday remained, even to her friends, an elusive and perplexing figure. In With Billie, we hear the voices of those people–piano players and dancers, pimps and junkies, lovers and narcs, producers and critics, each recalling intimate stories of the Billie they knew. What emerges is a portrait of a complex, contradictory, enthralling woman, a woman who knew what really mattered to her. Reading With Billie, one is convinced that she has only just left the room but will return shortly.

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