Stretches of the book felt like continuing threads from a talk I heard Emily St. John Mandel give at Chautauqua in 2015, when she was still riding the overwhelming wave of Station Eleven. This novel feels like Mandel’s attempt to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as her own fame—which [checks notes] came about from writing a novel about a pandemic. And…it works. It also folds The Glass Hotel into a larger Mandelverse, without destroying that book’s core story.
Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog would make a wonderful, comedic pairing with this one.