As our world is transformed by the coronavirus pandemic, writers offer a powerful antidote to the fearful confines of isolation: a window onto lives and corners of the world beyond our own. In Mauritius, a journalist contends with denialism and mourns the last days of summer, lost to the lockdown. In Paris, a writer struggles to protect his young son from fear. In Chile, protesters who prevailed against tear gas and rubber bullets are now halted by a virus. In Queens, after thirteen-hour shifts in the ER, a doctor dons running shoes and makes the long jog home.
And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again takes its title from the last line of Dante's Inferno, when the poet and his guide emerge from hell to once again behold the beauty of the heavens. In that spirit, the stories, essays, poems, and artwork in this collection--from beloved authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Mario Vargas Llosa, Eavan Boland, Daniel Alarc n, Jon Lee Anderson, Claire Messud, Ariel Dorfman, and many more--detail the harrowing experiences of life in the pandemic, while pointing toward a less isolated future. Together they comprise a profound global portrait of the defining moment of our time, and send a clarion call for solidarity across borders.
Our literary culture depends on bookstores--and those irreplaceable sources of conversation and community, of inspiration and solace, have been decimated by the lockdown. Net proceeds from And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again will go to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which helps the passionate booksellers we readers depend upon.
About the Author
Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, and A Critic's Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile's Presidential Medal, the International Latino Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans's work, translated into twenty languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. A cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, Chicago, Oxford, and Dublin, he is the host of the NPR podcast "In Contrast."