Burntcoat by  Sarah Hall


Sarah Hall

I really engaged with this beautifully written, poetic tale of survival and death during a pandemic (not Covid). It’s hard to say that I enjoyed it because it is distressing but also uplifting in many ways. Be prepared for detailed sex scenes, delivered in forthright, language, from a woman’s point of view.


There are others in this situation; I could read the message boards and visit support groups. There are registered services, doulas to help relapsers through it – they do everything from existentialism to excrement. Veterans like me are celebrated, not just for biological luck but for sagacity. So many became reckless once they knew they hadn’t beaten it, burning through the days, experiencing everything they could. Others became reclusive, obsessed with every cough, every headache, nerve-damaged, mind-damaged. Some are still enlisted in trials. I don’t share their disbelief. I’ve been asked about this too. How is it possible to live with fear and hope?

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Explicit sexual content