A writer and literary critic's diary of the year 2020, beginning with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and spanning the protests for racial justice and the chaos of the U.S. presidential election.-
... the journal you meant to write but were too busy dashing through self-checkout lanes or curled in the fetal position in front of Netflix to get anything down. Thankfully, Finch did. His keen-eyed account is vivid and witty. It will make you laugh despite the horrors ... There's a hysterical disjointedness to his entries that we recognize — and I don't mean hysterical as in funny but as in high-strung, like a plucked violin string, as the months wear on ... I am not enjoying the pandemic, but I did enjoy Finch's articulate take on life in the midst of it ... Finch's account has a unifying effect in the same way that good literature affirms humanity by capturing a moment in time. As Finch chronicles his routines honestly and without benefit of hindsight, we recall our own. Events of the past year and a half were stupefying and horrific — but we suffered them together ... Articulate and engaging, the account offers us the timeline we need because who remembers all that went down? ... Finch conveys it all here with all the humor and pathos the era deserves.
We're fortunate that one as gifted and insightful as Los Angeles-based novelist and critic Charles Finch chose to preserve his recollections in the eloquent, fierce What Just Happened ... Finch is a keen political observer whose takedowns of the Trump administration's almost willfully incompetent leadership are both savage and, at times, savagely funny ... Occasionally Finch departs from his contemporary narrative to share some moving bits of personal history, including an evocative scene of a snowy Central Park when he lived in New York in his 20s ... Years from now, historians will comb through primary sources looking for evidence of how we thought and felt during these plague days. They would do well to turn first to What Just Happened.
Finch’s precise and stunning day-by-day chronicle of the COVID-19 pandemic brings back all the shock and bewilderment, fear and outrage, grim humor and stark revelations ... this award-winning critic and author of a best-selling Victorian mystery series is nimbly incisive, scathing, and hilarious; his political analysis keen and prescient ... this edgy in-the-moment account is bracing in its connectivity and clarification ... Resounding indictments alternate with personal disclosures as Finch listens to and critiques music, smokes pot, and shares the experiences of friends, including an ER doctor in New York. In radiant gratitude, Finch remembers his grandmother, the artist Annie Truitt. A forthright, sharp-witted, caring, and essential record of living through a tragic, transformative year.