DiscoverContemporary Romance

Love in the Time of the Coronavirus


Loved it! 😍

When everything seems at its worst, Vinny gives the reader reason to keep reading, rooting for him, and for Love during the time of COVID

This book gives voice to the multi-generational impact of the COVID crisis on a Brooklyn neighborhood - from storefronts to the lives of its inhabitants.

Their concerns for themselves and their loved one's health and survivability, job viability and finances to a statement on social class, expectations, relationships and dating, and otherwise normal social encounters.

A grim scene that flashes between childhood schoolmates to intruding on an adult funeral parlor having not spoken since and convening at a gathering discussing bodies piling up at a crematorium, and a child's body held up in the process. It seems somewhere between surreal and choreographed like Broadway, but is instead believable. The helplessness when surrounded by death counts, victims in rehab, job cuts, and the impact of pulling kids out of school, racism, and the violent clashes with law enforcement.

References to icons of the past -a 1979 Impala in the garage, as well as corresponding occupations and multi-generational relationships, interjected with mentions of current media mentions, highlighting both the wide range demographics and how they experience the crisis differently. Long-held customs and traditions, religion, the pervasiveness of digital devices, and the contrast between urban, neighborhoods, geographic mobility, and multiple generations residing in the same neighborhood over the life course.

Despite Vinny's heavy use of slang like 'num nut', and appearance of Van Halen t-shirts, long hair, and beard, you get the impression there were strong cultural influences. His Mother's 'nick-nacks' as he calls them - a collection in the curio from around the world - Lladro dogs from Spain, Waterford crystal from Ireland, Dutch shoes, and porcelain houses from Positano where he later vacationed with a lover. His education level in having worked on Wall Street and then returning to school to become an editor along with his ability to convey a strong emotional connection with the reader contradict the tone of much of the book and that of his surroundings.

An engaging and sympathetic character who pulls the reader's heartstrings in reminiscing on his previous engagement plans and love for his ex-fiance surrounding the time of his father's death and his job loss as well as the scene as he's watching himself on TV catching a COVID kid attempting an assault on the elderly for money. The book continuously hooks the reader on rooting for him to overcome his grievances.

It's Irish-Italian cultural overtone and simplistic language does not underscore the emotional connection the reader feels.

Later in the book, Dr. Choi attributes him with understanding the 'heart of the book'. While his strength of voice and strong characterization in depicting the essence of a cross-cultural community experience during the COVID crisis, he often expresses grief over his past with his father's death, feelings of inadequacy in his former girlfriend having broken things off with him, and in his approaches to dating, in which he often lacks initiative. His overuse of slang may suggest he doubts himself as a serious writer and lacking the sophistication of his mother and previous life on Wall Street with his ex-girlfriend.

He reflects on the urban Manhattan lifestyle and moving back to Brooklyn reverting to his long hair, love of metal music, etc is more him, but as a reader, it's unclear whether he wasn't escaping the traumatic loss and breakup. It often seems more likely he suffers self-doubt and tends to abstain from situations where there are too many feelings involved. There is an interesting dichotomy between the qualitative aspect of the writing when he is expressing authenticity, 'the heart' Dr. Choi references versus the low-brow experiences such as his initial rendezvous with Daphne. 

However, the book takes a sharp turn from this impression when his Mother passes away. His decisions about avoiding contact seem much more connected to concern for her well-being. His conversations with Daphne progress rapidly and they confide in one another in a way that instills trust. It contrasts his earlier experiences of abandonment during times of crisis - it's unraveling, and the uncertainty of prior relationships. The immediacy in dramatic changes that unfold is a powerful message of hope in miracles that can emerge from a past shrouded in losses. Having endured personal losses of both parents and the breaking off from a significant other during two more global, major catastrophic events of 9/11 and COVID-19, the ability to open up again to the possibilities and re-imagine the future is inspirational. There is also a refreshing aspect that he doesn't appear to be running back to problems of the past nor the stuckness of staying in a place in which he has incurred much loss miring in the absence of his losses. The experience is one that is relatable across the massive impact of COVID and while the reality of the ending may not be a prescriptive anecdote for everyone, it certainly lends to a re-evaluation of priorities and optimism for a better future, and one that may be very different in nature from current circumstances.

Reviewed by

Author. Award-Winning Digital Curator and Social Entrepreneur. Obsessed with the intersection of innovation, arts, and culture. Relentless learner Always exploring - nearby trails or global treks. Grateful for my pup's constant prodding - forces me away from the computer screen.

The End of Innocence

About the author

Victor Lana is the author of ten books. His articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in online and print venues. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday, where he figures a few ideas for new stories may await him. view profile

Published on December 08, 2020

150000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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