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A love story on the surface, The Pesthouse is indeed an allegory of ideas.
Disappointingly, The Pesthouse ultimately fails to reach the soaring summit reached by previous Crace novels.
The Pesthouse still manages to irritate the reader's imagination long after the final pages.
At one level, The Pesthouse is a suspenseful road novel; when Franklin and Margaret become separated, it joins the ranks of tales in which women fend for themselves in the wilderness.
Together, [Margaret and Franklin] become a latter-day Adam and Eve--and The Pesthouse becomes a quintessential American story.
The inevitable comparison for The Pesthouse is Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel from two decades ago, The Handmaid's Tale, wherein the woes of the planet were addressed with a new oppressive regime.