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The Star Book Review

May 7, 2024 May 2024, Regular Features No Comments

By Brenda Channer

In 2020, during lockdown, did you drag a chair to the end of your driveway with a coffee or glass of wine in hand to commune with your neighbours from a “safe” distance of an evening?

“Fourteen Days,” edited by Douglas Preston and Margaret Attwood, gives us a distinctly New York take on that notion. 

Residents of a small Manhattan apartment building gather on the roof, keeping their distance and reluctantly wearing masks. Initially they gather to applaud emergency workers at 7:00 p.m. each night but ultimately remain for the company – the price of which is to tell a story.

36 different authors contribute these stories as the initially prickly characters gradually become vulnerable to one another. Anchored by the narration of the building superintendent they share stories of love and loss, of ghosts and adventure, of travel and mystery.

Who is the author of which story is unknown until you flip to the back of the book – you can check the list as you go or decide to keep it a mystery until the end!

I was intrigued by the concept of the novel’s construction and attracted by the quality of the 36 contributing writers – John Grisham, Celest Ng, Diana Gabaldon, R.L. Stine, Emma Donaghue, Margaret Attwood and 30 more! It did not disappoint, and I found myself drawn into their little community, wondering who would tell a story next.

Unsurprisingly there are many different styles to the storytelling as befits the different personalities of the characters, including poetry and song.

There is a twist in the tale too which firmly reminded me that this is a pandemic novel. 

It made me pause and reflect on that time in the not too distant past and how it has changed us all.

Available at your local bookshop.

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