At first it's the dead rats; they start dying in cataclysmic numbers, followed by other city creatures. Then people begin experiencing flu-like symptoms as well as swellings in their lymph nodes. The masses react in disbelief when the official diagnosis comes in and later, when a quarantine is imposed on the increasingly terrified city.
Inspired by Albert Camus' classic 1947 novel, updated and set in Vancouver, Kevin Chong's The Plague follows Dr. Bernard Rieux's attempts to fight the treatment-resistant disease and find meaning in suffering.
Burnaby residents will have a chance to meet Chong on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the McGill library, 4595 Albert St.
Told with dark humour and an eye trained on the frailties of human behaviour, Chong's novel explores themes in keeping with Camus' original vision--heroism in the face of futility, the psychological strain of quarantine--but fraught with the political and cultural anxieties of our present day.
“When I came across (Camus’) The Plague, it was right after the U.S. election and at the beginning of a bleak winter and so the spirit of the book—of resilience against bleakness—against the tenor of that time gave the idea a momentum,” said Chong, in a news release.
Chong teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia and the Writers' Studio at Simon Fraser University.he will read from The Plague, and speak about how he came to write this novel, speak about his body of work and take questions. Register online at www.bpl.bc.ca/eventsor at any BPL Information desk.