Monday, May 18, 2020

No stranger than fiction

What does it feel like to have written and published a novel about a deadly global pandemic shortly before the emergence and spread of coronavirus? "Unnerving", Lawrence Wright admitted in an interview with the Guardian's Adrian Horton. "It was meant to be a warning cry, when we weren't buffeted by all this dire news. Whenever I open the paper it feels like I'm reading my own book. It's weird."

The End Of October predicts much of the current situation, but Wright modestly refused to take the credit. Instead, he attributed his supposed prescience to the opinions of experts he gathered during the course of a typically diligent research process, as well as to "lucky guesses".

And what of the novel's marketability? "There are going to be a lot of people who aren't emotionally ready to read this book", he said. The mere thought of doing so makes me flinch - not least because, on the evidence of Horton's article, it sets out in horrific detail how much worse things might still get.

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