Connecting during isolation

Aqilah Rahman

There was a time when it seemed unthinkable for two people to mourn together while standing six feet apart, both of them in masks and gloves.

But now? No one would question why anyone would grieve in such a way during this pandemic.

And Zoom? It isn’t just for meetings anymore. It’s for weddings and funerals too.

COVID-19 changed everything, and this is described in detail in Alone Together, an anthology that describes several people’s experience during the pandemic.

Edited by Jennifer Haupt, Alone Together contains a mix of interviews, poems and stories written by several authors, with a brief profile of the writer at the end of each piece.

Like any anthology, each piece of writing offers something unique to the table. Each author has a unique writing style and a different story to tell, whether in the form of an interview, a story or a poem. Alone Together is an emotional rollercoaster ride that explores various aspects of our lives and relationships.

The book is also available in e-book format. PHOTO: READING GIRL REVIEWS

Some of the stories are uplifting, such as Ghost Town by Scott James, in which the writer helps his spouse deliver homemade banana bread to stranded students.

Some writers delve into personal relationships, such as Caroline Leavitt who is desperate to re-connect with her sister, despite being reminded by her therapist that her sister was the one who “closed the door”.

There are also writers who tell bittersweet stories and the importance of friendship. Jenna Blum, for example, describes how she had a mental breakdown on an “ordinary day”, and received a phone call from her friend Stephen who checked in on her and read poems over the phone until she felt better.

Alone Together doesn’t shy away from showing both the good and bad – it’s brutally honest and full of unfiltered thoughts, exploring themes such as grief, loss and the inability to offer or receive any physical comfort when most needed.

Overall, this book was a difficult read. Not because of the writing but because of how raw and personal the stories are, as if they’re taken from journal entries that are only meant to be seen by the writer.

The book has some uplifting and bittersweet stories, but for the most part, it’s quite grim, reflecting the reality of the pandemic.

Some entries may be more relatable and resonate more with the reader, but as a whole, Alone Together is a powerful collection that gives deep insights into how the pandemic has changed people’s lives. I would highly encourage giving it a read.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

Alone Together is available in three different formats: print, e-book and audio.

Both the e-book and audio edition contain the works of 91 authors, whereas the print edition has 69.

Unfortunately for those who prefer a physical copy, they won’t have access to the exclusive content.

If you’d like to read all the book has to offer, you might want to consider whether to get it in print, e-book, or audio format.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to Book Industry Charitable Foundation to support independent booksellers.