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Want another reason to feel tired all the time? Consider this: While you and I were doing all we could just to get out of bed every morning for the last two years, Louise Erdrich, Jodi Picoult, and Gary Shteyngart were finishing novels about the pandemic, and Roddy Doyle was composing enough short stories inspired by the subject to fill a book. Hilma Wolitzer wrote a widely praised short story inspired by the death of her husband from COVID. Hilma Wolitzer is 91.
It’s exhausting to even contemplate such a flowering of creativity. But not, happy to say, at all enervating to read. These books are even odd causes to cheer. Because these beavering scribes have not labored just to shame us. On the contrary, they have written books that, if anything, make the going a little easier.
As a sort of pandemic Christmas bonus, publishers also have graced us with a new translation of Albert Camus’ The Plague and a TV mini-series tie-in edition of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.