Lewis’s usual approach is to take a group of characters to flesh out a complicated theme and turn it into a gripping story. And he’s done it again here ... This is a book about some brave, curious people who tried hard to swim against the tide. As always in a Lewis book they are brought vividly alive. The descriptions are punchy, the dialogue snappy. Lewis is a master of his form. He’s an expert, in fact. It’s just a shame that the voices of the experts in his book were ignored until it was too late.
Replete with unforgettable characters, taut pacing and the stakes of life or death (or, in this case, death or less death), you can see each scene of the blockbuster play out on the screen of your mind. Then, you remember the page-turner you are ripping through is essentially about bureaucracy and its failings ... The first half of the book... moves like a whitewater current. The second half, when COVID-19 descends, slows a bit, perhaps because it’s still so fresh and stomach-churning ... But perhaps what’s most illuminating about The Premonition is that the story is a Rorschach test to reveal your ideological worldview. A lefty will likely see the utter abandonment of government’s responsibility to its citizens due to political gain and vanity. A more conservative person might see a bloated apparatus of red tape and paper pushers dead set on preventing action ... Hopefully, a future president will pick up this book...and see it for the parable that it is.
... maddening ... Lewis makes the most of his conceit, flashing backward and forward through the decades to show us how and when the warning signs flashed ... cinematic ... Some of this story has been told before, including in this newspaper. But Lewis brings a welcome gimlet eye to the Trump era, when government officials abused by Trump were instinctively deified by liberal Twitter and cable TV ... But the lessons of the The Premonition apply to more than just the C.D.C. — they tell us why government bureaucracies fail.