An Ordinary Epidemic (Amanda Hickie, MidnightSun Publishing)
What would you do in an epidemic? Stock up your pantry, gather your family and wait it out? But what if one of your kids was away on a school excursion? An Ordinary Epidemic explores these decisions and considers how broader society might cope with unexpected change—for example, what would happen if all the power plant workers decided to go home to their own families? It’s utterly fascinating, a little gruesome and impossible to put down. Set in Sydney and revolving around Hannah, her husband and two sons, the story is both familiar and completely strange. From taking sensible precautions to avoid an infectious disease to contemplating a self-imposed quarantine, Hannah has to weigh up life-or-death decisions for herself and her family. Sydney author Amanda Hickie’s second novel really captures the claustrophobia of quarantine, and the threat of someone clearing their throat or an accidental brush of skin. This is a slow-burn thriller that would make an excellent choice for a book club as it raises lots of discussion points.
Jessica Broadbent is a librarian and former bookseller