Set in the village of Mandragora, The Testament of Yves Gundron opens with a description of a harsh, rural existence of daily toil in a pre-industrial medieval community. Then Yves Gundron, yeoman farmer, invents the harness and life in Mandragora begins irreversibly to change. All is not as it seems, however, and when anthropologist Ruth Blum appears in the village - native of Boston and the late twentieth century - what had seemed to be a simple historical document proves to be something else entirely. Emily Barton's wildly imaginative debut is a deftly handled examination of the double-edged sword of technology and explores what we may have lost, as well as gained, in our fervent pursuit of modernity.
Emily Barton graduated from Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.