Frankfurt Book Fair: The first novels on the pandemic arrive, with Margaret Atwood on the first line

Are readers prepared to relive the COVID-19 crisis through fiction? It is one of the great questions that have been discussed at the Frankfurt Book Fair, wher

Frankfurt Book Fair: The first novels on the pandemic arrive, with Margaret Atwood on the first line

Are readers prepared to relive the COVID-19 crisis through fiction? It is one of the great questions that have been discussed at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where several works inspired by the pandemic were presented.

Two of these books were written by two of the most outstanding authors at present: the American novelist Jodi Picoult and the Canadian Margaret Atwood, who contributed to a "collaborative novel", coecked with other authors, on the inhabitants in Manhattan who narrowed their Links during confinement.

"As members of the human species, we have crossed a very difficult period on the planet Earth and has not yet finished," Atwood warned, author of the tale of the maid, during a virtual appearance at the opening ceremony in Frankfurt.

Supervised by Atwood, the collective work Fourteen Days: An Unauthorised Gathering (fourteen days: an unauthorized meeting) is scheduled to reach the bookstores in 2022. It will represent one of the first fiction works that directly deems the impact of coronavirus in life of people.

Picoult, whose novels have been translated into more than 30 languages, will also publish the history of a tourist who is blocked away from his country because of the pandemic.

With Title Wish You Were Here (I wish you were here), this story "will try to give a sense to 2020," the American writer explained. "Artists must find a sense to things that we do not understand and a world pandemic is one of them."

The German writer John Von Dueffel will present another novel in the current health crisis that will narrate the story of a woman who should make a quarantine at the time when his family's patriarch is dying.

Although the first novels on the Covid-19 approach the bookstores, the professionals of the publishing sector doubt about the interest of the readers for these stories, at a time when the pandemic has not yet finished.

The German literary critic Denis Scheck warns before the "precipitation" with the publication of these novels and reminds the talent that is needed to describe and understand in real time some important facts. He shows "skeptical" in the face of the success of the novels that speak about the Covid-19 and considers that this type of works should "wait about 10 or 20 years".

In fact, remember that the best novels on the attacks of September 11, 2011 were not published up to several years or even a decade after those facts.

But some authors feel a great need to write about the coronavirus. The American Hilma Wolitzer found a cathartic effect of tragic facts suffered during the pandemic in writing.

This author, 91, lost her husband last year because of the Covid-19 and she was also admitted because of the virus. Writing about it resulted in "a way to face that pain, at a time when all the rituals of duel, like the funerals or the company of the family and friends, were denied," she said.

This painful episode of his life is described in the last chapter of his latest book, today to Woman Went Mad In The Supermarket, a collection of short stories. "I hope people read it for pleasure and consolation, as I would with any other work of fiction," she said.

According to Picault, the writers "must contribute a perspective to what we have learned about ourselves in the last 18 months."

Updated Date: 21 October 2021, 19:31

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