Love & Loss in the Time of Covid

A story for our time

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Pub Date 15 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2022

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Description

"This accomplished experimental novel centers on loss, connection, and trying to heal in a pandemic. Dourado manages to balance tragedy and comedy in this intriguing debut that reimagines the novel in the context of Covid-19." - Publishers' Weekly, November, 2021

Love & Loss is the first novel set during the time of Covid to be written and published in real time, as the events described in it were happening in the real world.

Part grief memoir, part Covid chronicle, it tries to make sense, through the experiences of one family, of the world turned upside down that we have all lived through, and are still living through.

Love & Loss starts with three sudden losses for the central character in the book:

You lose your spouse, your brother and your best friend, all shuffling off within weeks of each other. You're unhinged by grief. And then the world is turned upside down by Covid. Just as your life has changed irrevocably, so has everyone else's. What do you do?

Matthew's answer is to take to his bed and refuse to come out until people stop dying. Or, at least, until he can make sense of it all. His retreat under the duvet becomes a microcosm of the world's retreat into a series of lockdowns.  

But he is not alone under there. His bed is crowded with companions, jostling to help him make meaning out of loss - books he has loved that are unlikely to suddenly disappear the way people in his life have been doing lately. 

As he finishes each book, he tosses it out onto the floor and moves to the next one. He plans to make stepping stones out of them, an escape route back to real life at a time when no-one is certain what real life is going to look like. 

When not under the duvet, he sneaks out at dawn and drifts down the Thames in his red kayak, flirting with the dangerous white water by the nearby weir, before scampering back to his bed before anyone else is up. Or heads over to deliver food to his locked down parents. Or tries to maintain a connection with the woman who may be his future.  

It’s slow going, this quest for an escape route back from a kind of madness to a normal life. Especially when the normal life he had - and the normal world that we all lived in - no longer exists. Until his lost friend returns and sets him a mission.

"This accomplished experimental novel centers on loss, connection, and trying to heal in a pandemic. Dourado manages to balance tragedy and comedy in this intriguing debut that reimagines the novel...


Advance Praise

"This accomplished experimental novel centers on loss, connection, and trying to heal in a pandemic. Dourado manages to balance tragedy and comedy in this intriguing debut that reimagines the novel in the context of Covid-19." - Publishers' Weekly, November, 2021

"This accomplished experimental novel centers on loss, connection, and trying to heal in a pandemic. Dourado manages to balance tragedy and comedy in this intriguing debut that reimagines the novel...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9798456050229
PRICE £4.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Premise Love & Loss is the first novel set during the time of Covid to be written and published in real time, as the events described in it were happening in the real world.

Part grief memoir, part Covid chronicle, it tries to make sense, through the experiences of one family, of the world turned upside down that we have all lived through, and are still living through.

I could definitely relate to Matthews losses as I have recently lost many people close to me and have been dealing with a lot of grief. It was such a poignant novel and really captured what many of us in society today are going through at this time in the world.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this book.

This story follows the intimate journey of Matthew, who has lost three important people in his life during Covid, in succession, and how he navigates how to cope with his loss and grief. I found his journey along the Thames to be so symbolic - from putting the pieces of the kayak together to the navigation down the River, in the water - perhaps a search for rebirth. Having sought solace and peace in nature during lockdown (and still now), I could understand why his early morning time, drifting along, breathing in fresh air, were key to his search for healing.

The book offered humor where it needed to give us some comic relief within a heavy subject matter. I found this book to be easily relatable, having lost friends and loved ones during the pandemic (and at other times too). Being separated from my mom for 6 months as her apartment building was in total lockdown, I could relate to his concerns for his own mother. Forced to wave to my mother from the sidewalk up to her 8th floor window was heartwrenching, but necessary for her health and protection. The author writes in an intimate, honest tone that I appreciated. There is no sugar coating to the pain from loss.

I totally understood how the main character used books, films, nature, videos, Ted Talks, science, grief counsellors, journals and articles written by others who have suffered grief - any avenue he could - to help him in his pain of loss and help him find a way forward to light and hope.

We live in a different world now - still in Zoom for many things where we used to have human contact, and finding ways to accept this way of life and find some positivity in it. The daily news lead off story is still about Covid and we can either fall into the darkness of it or choose light and hope for a better future.
I so appreciate that this book was written in real time. I loved this book.

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This book is breathtaking - literally. As I was reading I found myself short of breath as I realised that we lived through the events being described and talked about which upon reflection is terrifying. As trhe biggest global event that I have lived through it was bizarre to see it playing out on the pages but also really emotive and inspriing. I loved it

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A hard book to read at times, but then again it's been a hard few months and this book will be able to explain how some people felt during the pandemic, Everyone will have felt different and coped with things in very different ways, but this book helps you understand that no matter how bad things got everyone was affected one way or another,
Thank you netgalley

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<i>Love and loss in the time of Covid</i> is a very sad fictional story primarily aligned with real events in the authors life. The protagonist is the author himself who goes through some serious difficulties and is now spending his time in bed under his duvet writing about his grief and how to deal with it all. <i>Love and loss in the time of Covid</i> is a debut novel written by journalist and well known author Phil Dourado.

In recent years he suffers severe losses. His wife dies, his best friend dies and his brother dies. Now there are millions dying from Covid related infections. The only way to deal with it all to take his bed, living under his duvet, and taking some advice from various books he collects on how to deal with grief. He has an overwhelming feeling that people won’t stop dying. He imagines conversations with his dead friend and he recalls stories about his brother. He also has memories of his father and the mother when they were much younger and healthier. He has regular conversations with his girlfriend who is waiting impatiently for him to get better so that they can return to their life Pre-Covid. If he’s going to thrive at all he’s going to have to get by his grief and find a way of coping.

The central character is very compelling. Here is a man who suffers the loss of his wife, his best friend, and his brother. He realizes his grandchildren are moving back to Australia and his two sons move to far removed parts of England. He’s a really got a lot to deal with and he just can’t cope right now so he lives in his bed under his duvet. But through it all, he understands that he has to find a way to move on and he tries very hard to find a way out of the darkness.

I find the story a little bit disjointed he goes back-and-forth between his wife pre-illness, his dead friend etc. In fairness this is how we learn what his life was like before the deaths. It is interesting to find out that, although embellished, this is actually an autobiography. The author actually experiences most these things. It’s also compelling story from the point of Covid which is actually happening now and so it’s a very up-to-date account of what some people are currently dealing with.

I recommend this book for people who are dealing with grief themselves or through their friends. I’ll give it out at 4 on 5 because, although the story is hopeful, it is a bit depressing for my taste. I want to thank a NetGalley and Steelhouse Publishing for providing me with a digital copy on the spot this review voluntarily.

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In future times Covid with will be talked about like the plague I would imagine. What this book does is tell the story of Matthew who has lost three people in his life and then Covid hits . How his grief overwhelmed him and what he did.
Not quite what i was expecting to read but on the whole an interesting read on someone's journey through grief.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read an arc

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A moving story for anyone who has lost someone and suffering from prolonged grief. It touches on the pandemic and how our lives have been changed forever. Where have our loved ones gone. Can they help us from beyond? Very moving.

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Heartbreaking story of one man’s grief. You lose your spouse, your brother and your best friend, all shuffling off within weeks of each other. You're unhinged by grief. And then the world is turned upside down by Covid. Just as your life has changed irrevocably, so has everyone else's. What do you do?

Matthew's answer is to take to his bed and refuse to come out until people stop dying. Or, at least, until he can make sense of it all. His retreat under the duvet becomes a microcosm of the world's retreat into a series of lockdowns.

But he is not alone under there. His bed is crowded with companions, jostling to help him make meaning out of loss - books he has loved that are unlikely to suddenly disappear the way people in his life have been doing lately.

As he finishes each book, he tosses it out onto the floor and moves to the next one. He plans to make stepping stones out of them, an escape route back to real life at a time when no-one is certain what real life is going to look like.

When not under the duvet, he sneaks out at dawn and drifts down the Thames in his red kayak, flirting with the dangerous white water by the nearby weir, before scampering back to his bed before anyone else is up. Or heads over to deliver food to his locked down parents. Or tries to maintain a connection with the woman who may be his future.

It’s slow going, this quest for an escape route back from a kind of madness to a normal life. Especially when the normal life he had - and the normal world that we all lived in - no longer exists. Until his lost friend returns and sets him a mission.

Was this review helpful?

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