The question arrives via email, DM, Facebook message. The wording varies, but boils down to this: Do you feel like you’re living in your own novel?
The Weight of Ink—the book these messages refer to—is partially set during London’s devastating 1665–66 plague outbreak. And yes, there’s an abundance of similarities between that 17th century catastrophe and ours—so much so that in my replies to these readers, I make sure to also underscore what I find reassuring. Unlike our 17th century counterparts, we live in a world of genome sequencing and double-blind studies. However devastating the mortality rate in this epidemic, it won’t match the 60–90 percent mortality rate of pre-antibiotics plague.
But my replies have felt hollow. I’ve avoided admitting the