There are no products in your shopping cart.
There was a time I would have skipped right over Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet in my to-be-read pile. Yes, it is a superb portrayal of a mother losing her child to the Plague (not a spoiler) and struggling not to lose herself in her grief or her husband’s (never named) prodigious shadow, both timely and timeless. Yes, her language is transporting, particularly the heart-wrenching scene at the husband’s theater. But Hamnet is another name for Hamlet: deserving of acknowledgment, like beets and liver, but not my cup of tea.
I’m doing my best, trying my hardest, holding on for dear life, hanging on by my fingernails, using every trick in the book, one day at a time. There are insufficient clichés to clear the fear. I’m even plucking at my last nerve. It wasn’t supposed to last this long. I can’t remember why I thought it would be over by now. To center myself, I spend as much time as possible with books, including those I formerly eschewed. With literary lariats aloft, they lure and lasso me. As you can see, my urge to alliterate is out of control as well. The more I pull, the tighter the knot. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager has ghosts for goodness sakes. I wouldn’t have been caught dead (there I go again) reading that BC (Before Covid).
I have not physically traveled beyond my zip code for months other than to deliver food and meds to my mother in Owings Mills. Yet, I am all over the place. My travels commence when a lovely-accented man, Loren, in Managua, Nicaragua, assists me in cancelling my Sam’s Club membership (I prefer Costco). From Central America I journey to Bali where I order “Batik Magic” facemasks from craftspeople at Novica (handmade, fair trade). And my two current reads, Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor set in London and The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup in Copenhagen complete my itinerary for the week. I always go first class.
The Pandemic has attacked the United States Postal Service. Where “neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night” succeeded, Covid-19 has found its mark to “stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Perhaps a fresh creed is in order, something that includes the kindness of a stranger.
A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Potted Meat by Steven Dunn