At this point, none of us are strangers to COVID. It crept into our lives slowly, forcing us to move online, inside, and distance ourselves from others. We wore masks, sanitised, and socially distanced. However, what about those whose occupation requires them to step in? Those who couldn’t hide from COVID, but instead rose to face it head on? Selina Mahmood eloquently describes her experiences in medical residency in her book A Pandemic In Residence.
A Pandemic in Residence is a collection of essays written by Mahmood from March 2020 to June of 2020, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in the United States. Mahmood takes us through her residency in Ann Arbor and leads us through the reaction to COVID at her hospital. Mahmood opens the book the week of March 13th, 2020, and immediately sets the scene: the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic on the 11th, and President Trump has declared a national emergency in the United States. Medical students will no longer be rotating at her hospital, and Drake and Future’s “Life Is Good” is topping the charts.
And this is indicative of what makes A Pandemic in Residence so unique. Mahmood seamlessly blends her inner musings and personal experiences with detailed accounts of her daily rounds at the hospital. Mahmood’s book reads part diary, part memoir, with personal anecdotes and thought provoking reflections interspersed with discussions on new COVID-protocols and the field of medicine.
The novel offers unique insights into how hospitals dealt with the onset of COVID-19. The strong personal voice develops profound sections on philosophy, history, literature and medicine, which help craft a gorgeously introspective novel. These additions make an interesting read. A Pandemic In Residence tackles issues of identity, loss, and navigating a tumultuous world. The skillful writing and intimate additions offer an elegant, intelligent perspective on the world around us, and the universal search for meaning.
Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with the author, Selina Mahmood on Muslim Girl, here.
A Pandemic In Residence is now available for purchase wherever you buy your books!