Short story collections written by multiple Authors can be hit or miss – in this case, it’s a big miss. Now, I don’t usually share reviews of this nature on the blog, most of you are here to find good books and your next read. But as this is a short story collection the very nature of the book, and its editors, are enough to draw you in and make you feel that this is going to be a good read.

Some of the short stories were brilliant, they were gripping, entertaining and exactly what I’d hoped the whole collection would be. Others fell flat, and that is the risk when you have multiple (good!) Authors working on a collection. It either works, or it doesn’t, there can’t really be an in between as it’s quite jarring to navigate.

The ambition was inspiring, the drive to create something different was positive, the execution of it all though leaves much to be desired. It was uneven, didn’t flow and ended abruptly.

About the Book

Set in a Lower East Side tenement in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Fourteen Days is an irresistibly propulsive collaborative novel from the Authors Guild, with an unusual twist: each character in this diverse, eccentric cast of New York neighbors has been secretly written by a different, major literary voice—from Margaret Atwood and Celeste Ng to Tommy Orange and John Grisham.

One week into the COVID-19 shutdown, tenants of a Lower East Side apartment building in Manhattan have begun to gather on the rooftop and tell stories. With each passing night, more and more neighbors gather, bringing chairs and milk crates and overturned pails. Gradually the tenants—some of whom have barely spoken to each other—become real neighbors. In this Decameron-like serial novel, general editors Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston and a star-studded list of contributors create a beautiful ode to the people who couldn’t escape when the pandemic hit. A dazzling, heartwarming, and ultimately surprising narrative, Fourteen Days reveals how beneath the horrible loss and suffering, some communities managed to become stronger.

About The Authors

DOUGLAS PRESTON has published forty books of both nonfiction and fiction, of which over thirty have been New York Times bestsellers, a half-dozen reaching the #1 position. He is the co-author, with Lincoln Child, of the Pendergast series of thrillers. He also writes nonfiction pieces for the New Yorker Magazine. He worked as an editor at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He is president emeritus of the Authors Guild and serves on the Advisory Board of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe.

MARGARET ATWOOD is a Canadian writer best known for her prose fiction and for her feminist perspective.

As an adolescent, Atwood divided her time between Toronto, her family’s primary residence, and the sparsely settled bush country in northern Canada, where her father, an entomologist, conducted research. She began writing at age five and resumed her efforts, more seriously, a decade later. After completing her university studies at Victoria College at the University of Toronto, Atwood earned a master’s degree in English literature from Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1962.

[Photo credit; The Times]

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