“Project Decameron. 29 New Stories from the Pandemic”

In March 2020, the editors of The New York Times launched Project Decameron with the goal of compiling an anthology of stories written during the period when the coronavirus pandemic devastated the world for the first time. Writers responded from around the world and from all generations. It resulted in 29 original stories, which vary widely.

Refer to “Decameron” directly. In 1353, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote The Decameron: One Hundred Stories after a group of young men and women spent time telling stories, locked up in a villa outside Florence, waiting for the plague, which killed more than 25 million people, to pass.

“When the coronavirus started spreading around the world – Caitlin Roper writes in the foreword – novelist Rivka Galchen called the New York Times to tell us she would like to write a story with reference to his book, Decameron Boccaccio, to help readers understand what is happening today. We really liked the idea, but we We wondered what it would be like if, instead of a story, we made our own Decameron, with an entirely new imagination, written during quarantine.

We started calling the writers, asking them to give us their pitches—to get an idea of ​​what kind of stories they were hoping to tell. (…) When the virus took over New York, and we fell prey to fear and suffering, we began to hear something else, something that gave hope – an interest in the project and ideas for engaging stories. (…) When stories began to emerge, even though we were plunged down our necks in one of the most terrifying experiences of our lives, I understood that writers make art. We hadn’t expected this skill to turn the terror of our present into something this powerful. It made us remember that the best novel is one that is able to move you away from yourself, but also helps you, in a way, to understand your exact situation.”

Volume contributors: Margaret Atwood, Mona Awad, Matthew Baker, Mia Couto, Edwidge Danticat, Issey Idojian, Julian Fox, Sharco Press, Rivka Galshin, Paulo Giordano, Sophie Hollington, Ozudinma Iweala, Etgar Keret, Rachel Kushner, Layla Victor Lalami, Laval, Yoon Lee, Dinao Mengistu, David Mitchell, Liz Moore, Dina Nairer, Tia Oprett, Andrew O’Hagan, Tommy Orange, Karen Russell, Camila Shamsie, Laila Slimani, Rivers Solomon, Colm Toibin, John Ray, Charles Yu, Alejandro Zambra.

“The plurality of voices telling of how we have spent the pandemic—each with its own life experience and literature, its own vision of fear and death, its hopes and despair—makes< مشروع ديكاميرون. 29 قصة جديدة من الوباء >> A true literary monument – write to editors. A text museum full of figures, symbols, pictures and animated films of the two years the world stopped for a while, then started, then stopped again and so on, to infinity. And we were with her, we sat, we were afraid, and then he had the courage and started again, as if the virus was a natural thing, as if it was going to disappear – because it would perish.

The stories are so beautiful and so different from each other that it makes you feel like you’re jumping from one book to the next, and they all have the same theme (how did you spend the apocalypse), but nothing like the one before it. One is full of melancholy, the other is detached as if everything experienced is someone else’s history, one about love, another about survival, another shorter, another more generous, and so on until the end where the proudest person awaits us. The one who reminds us that whatever we may have chosen (we could have chosen) to live these two years–quietly, with fear, with or without mask, with endless humor or fatigue, as an opportunity to invent temporary work, as a place of peace, like a year off, there Years when some of us died in terrible agony imaginable, far from everything we loved. It is good not to forget, not to forget those who are no longer there, those who did not flee to tell the story …

It is an extraordinary volume, because it is a representation of all mankind everywhere facing a terrible experience, almost impossible to imagine in fiction, an experience disturbingly real and violent in its realism, which made us realize that in the face of the dead we are (almost) equal, showing us that we can To be in solidarity even if we are not together and we can be together, but we do not see, hear, feel, touch.”

“Project Decameron. 29 New Stories of the Epidemic”. The New York Times Magazine. Illustrations by Sophie Hallington. Translated by Una Frantz, Marin Maliko-Hondrary, Ciracella Barbon, Danielle Niculescu, Simena Popa, Jorge Melittino and Alexandra Turco. Pandora M Publishing House, 318 pages.

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