Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The End of October by Lawrence Wright - Fiction

The End of October captures the essence of what it means to live through a pandemic.  It is a timely piece of writing that delves deep into the realities of plagues, pathogens and viruses that spread and infect the population causing serious illness and ultimately deaths in great numbers. These sections educate and inform the reader on the science of the microbes that infect the human body.

Harry Parsons, a microbiologist and epidemiologist working for WHO travels to a remote camp in Indonesia, and then onwards to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to contain the spread of infection with little to no success. After many months, he returns home to America via a military submarine. It is no better in America as the virus has permeated his family, neighbourhood and friends. He copes in that stoic and down to earth manner.

Amidst this health crisis, Wright highlights the life and death of the family that Parsons has left behind in order to fulfill his duties as an official of the WHO organization. It is a gut-wrenching account of how the family copes without Parsons.  The story switches from the world of pandemic chaos abroad to family uncertainty and despair at home in America.

The End of October is a timely and excellent read as it not only provides the value of becoming more knowledgeable on the science behind pandemics, but illustrates the truly sad impact on the people going through this health crisis. 

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