One of my favorite novelists (although I confess I haven’t yet tackled “Damascus“, which came out late last year), Christos Tsiolkas is also a trenchant, brutally honest commentator on our modern world. In this morning’s Age/Sydney Morning Herald, his “Were so many of us wrong?” essay spoke to me more than many of the surging chorus of prognosticators about the post-Covid-19 world.
Tsiolkas has an uncanny ability to merge the commonplace of what is occurring with much taller questions. Beginning with his last-minute flight home to Melbourne from a literary festival schedule in UK, he describes the growing sense of splintering uncertainty. Now (at the time of writing, after six days of isolation), he finds that, “Refracted through the changes brought about by the virus, the recent past seems an aeon ago. All the same, it has made me thankful for the present moment. Real time.” That’s something I’ve also experienced. As I have, Tsiolkas ponders what recent myths of existence have been shattered beyond recovery. “After the past few months,” he writes, “after these transformations, can a writer still adhere to certainty?”
(Photo from article)