Wish You Were Here is most definitely a novel for our times. It is about the Covid experience, and so much more. An up-to-date twin tale of realism and transcendentalism wrapped into a wonderfully engaging story. The structure is unusual and nearly perfect. It’s a 120,000 word page-turner.
There is teenage self-harm, attempted suicide, graphic descriptions of Covid deaths and of the trauma experienced by doctors working long shifts in desperate efforts to save patients. But in context, these potentially distressing scenes fade into the larger story. The overall feeling is uplifting and positive. Struggles sometimes lead to positive change; disasters sometimes lead to renewal.
American author Jodi Picoult’s extensive list of acknowledgements at the end demonstrates that she has done her homework. She contacted health professionals, Covid survivors, neurologists and many others to research the story. She seems to have a firm grasp of what happens to Covid patients while sedated, particularly the hallucinations of being another person or being in another place. There is also a description of the final recollections of the protagonist’s mother who has dementia. This scene seems contrived and unbelievable, created only to fit in with the other story lines. But then, who can question the workings of the brain at such times? Continue reading JODI PICOULT : WISH YOU WERE HERE