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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • 979-8456050229 B09CGMSTHL
  • 222 pages
  • $6.80
Philip Dourado
Author
Love & Loss in the Time of Covid
Phil Dourado, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

“A moving and funny memoir of love & loss in a time of turmoil.” Love & Loss is the first novel set during the time of Covid to be written and published in real time, as the events described in it were happening in the real world. Part grief memoir, part Covid chronicle, it tries to make sense, through the experiences of one family, of the world turned upside down that we have all lived through, and are still living through. Love & Loss starts with three sudden losses for the central character in the book, mirroring the loss of wife, brother and closest friend that prompted the author to write the book.
Reviews
Dourado’s autobiographical novel explores grief and relationships through the restraints imposed by Covid-19, revealing awkward and intimate interactions with strangers, phone conversations between lovers and friends, and even a Zoom funeral. Amidst lockdowns in London, Matthew dubs himself the “man under the duvet” as he struggles to grieve the dead and connect with the living. With his grown-up children living miles away, his mother in the hospital, and his father in a care home, Matthew is isolated in an apartment after he is forced to sell his family home. Matthew tries to cope with his losses in and before lockdown by engaging in a conversation with his favorite authors through reading them and writing his own novel. After almost two years of solitary grieving and pandemic lockdowns, will Matthew ever be able to get up––and move on?

Dourado’s refreshing, resonant experiment tells its story through phone conversations, conversations with ghosts, and Matthew’s reflections on books. A lot is riding on the dialogue with this concept, so it’s a relief that Dourado’s is strong, with the phone chats injecting welcome humor and life into an otherwise pretty grim story. This beautifully emphasizes the idea that community is central to proper grieving and healing, while the act of communing with novelists and poets hits hard in a time when that community must be proxied through screens and masks.

Dourado’s story––and the way he manages to showcase oral tradition, especially within strict pandemic restrictions––is impactful and unique, though a tendency to explain the key concepts at times puts the focus on the mechanics of the novel rather than the voices. The impact of Matthew’s connection to books would be stronger if the chapters were framed around them. Still, despite such a stark concept, Dourado manages to balance tragedy and comedy in this intriguing debut that reimagines “the novel” in the context of Covid-19.

Takeaway: This accomplished experimental novel centers on loss, connection, and trying to heal in a pandemic.

Great for fans of: Bill Hays’s How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic, Ali Smith’s Summer.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • 979-8456050229 B09CGMSTHL
  • 222 pages
  • $6.80

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