Books: Millennium Fevers

In her absorbing new novel, Gail Godwin tracks modern maladies into a mountain town

Gail Godwin's 10th novel, Evensong (Ballantine; 405 pages; $25), is set in the very near future indeed, specifically the waning weeks of 1999. Millennial fever has reached even the idyllic and remote Smoky Mountain town of High Balsam, N.C. (winter pop. 1,000), where Margaret Bonner, 33, serves as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church. "Winter in the Great Smokies would shortly be upon us," Margaret says at the outset of her tale, "the winter that would see us into the next century and the new millennium. Other things were on their way to us as well, things we neither anticipated nor,...

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