Previously Ms. Nawaz wrote the very fine Bread And Bone.This new novel, researched and written between 2013-2019, is uncannily about a novel coronavirus pandemic, so eerily relevant to today’s world. The storyline involves multiple characters with interacting stories; the pandemic timeline (August-December 2020) is supplemented with some backstory chapters. The key feature is the focus on how humans cope with a pandemic crisis. An attractive aspect of the writing is that it is philosophical rather than sensational. There are graphic descriptions of the worst of times: disintegration of civil society, the irrationality of scapegoating, racial profiling, the exacerbation of co-existing problems like economic inequalities. But there is also the best of times: life goes on, people exhibit resilience. The writing is exceptional, Atwood-like in quality of describing mood when the black cloud of a pandemic lurks everywhere. Highly recommended, especially when we are experiencing our own pandemic crisis. Sarah, thanks for advising me that the e-book was available for purchase now; the paper book will be published in August.
- Lionel Asbo (Martin Amis);
- Bone and Bread (Saleema Nawaz; complex relationship between sisters in a story set mostly in Montreal’s Mile End);
- How To Be A Woman (Caitlin Moran; stories about growing up in England, alternating between hysterically funny and insightful/poignant);
- The Tiny Wife (Andrew Kaufman; only 85 small pages but such an imagination)