Sunday, October 30, 2022

Seven novels set during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bekah Waalkes is a writer and PhD candidate in English Literature at Tufts University. Her work has appeared in Real Life, Cleveland Review of Books, Bon Appétit, Longreads, and the Ploughshares blog, among others. She is an editorial intern at Electric Literature.

At Electric Lit Waalkes tagged seven "novels [that] refuse to recount lockdown on its own, instead thinking about what we learn about people and their breaking points, what the pandemic made possible for people like us, and, of course, what it took away." One title on the list:
Violeta by Isabel Allende

In true Isabel Allende style, Violeta is a sweeping story that follows one woman, Violeta del Valle, from her birth in 1920 to her death in 2020—her life bookended by two pandemics, the Spanish Flu and COVID-19. Her letters form the whole of the novel, detailing a life that’s been subject to many regimes, many waves of feminism, many tragedies and joys. There’s a lot in between these two pandemics, but there’s also an eerie similarity that Violeta herself reflects on.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue