... delivers on its title, with an outpouring of responses to our shared ordeal by a wonderfully diverse group of (90!) writers ... Thank heaven, these short accounts do comfort. They’re compulsively readable, too, even when painful — first, because they do what good writing always does, giving us the sharp relief of recognition. But they also inform, with dramatic power. Several manage some humor. All help us feel less lonely as we negotiate each new (Groundhog) day ... Intense emotion, unsurprisingly, suffuses these writings, as does longing for our prior, unthinking ease of connection and closeness ... Organized into five sections, these voices feel linked — often by a sudden, refocused perspective on cycles of life and loss ... It’s bracing to see ourselves dig deeper, facing the worst, to devise, invent, reach out ... Hope and determination persist, if erratically ... Something’s here, in short, for each of us. In the raw surge of brave voices, Alone Together will, indeed, give some love, some light, some 'help for pain' (subverting Matthew Arnold). Who can’t use a little of those right now?
... capture the pain everyone is experiencing. Yet underneath the devastation lies a current of interconnectedness and hope. In a time when even getting out of bed takes a conscious effort, positive messages can be transformative ... Among the first anthologies of its kind, this thoughtful and engaging compilation is recommended for readers seeking understanding and connection and a more empathetic and less materialistic post–COVID-19 world.
Of course, there are plenty of mournful pieces concerning illness and death in pandemic isolation, but importantly, there’s a sense that life goes on, reinforcing the spirit of interconnectedness as so many of us remain apart ... Many of the essays find some consolation in the feelings of grace and emotions of tenderness we experience now that we’re no longer living in what Luis Alberto Urrea describes as 'our continual tantrum of consumption and aggression' ... The collection is diverse in age, race, and ethnicity, and gender perspective is a focus of many of the pieces, which offer informed speculation on the many ways that things will never be the same. In addition to some voices that may not be widely known, the book includes a smorgasbord of big names: Kwame Alexander, Nikki Giovanni, David Sheff, Lidia Yuknavitch, Dani Shapiro, Garth Stein, Andre Dubus III, Dinty Moore, and Ada Limón ... A heartening gathering of writers joining forces for community support.
... remarkable ... addresses the lockdown from a range of experiences, perspectives, and formats, including poems, essays, and interviews, with some writers considering how to retain a sense of control over one’s own life, and others how to maintain a feeling of connection to others ... Anyone who has weathered the past few months will find something in here that speaks to them.