Lockdown- Behind The Mask – An Anthology – Review by Rehana Moosajee

Lockdown- Behind The Mask is an amazing collection of stories by women writers, that moves seamlessly from the macro to the micro. With the mask being the symbol of 2020 the anthology moves beyond the literal mask, removing the layers at the level of the personal and the collective.

Each story told in a distinctive style, some fictitious others weaving facts and fiction together give glimpses into the issues that the advent of a global pandemic has brought to the fore.

From the deeply personal to the sense of communal anxiety, the stories deal with diverse issues that focus on everything from revelations of long held secrets, to the economic impact of Covid 19 to the varying responses of individuals, families and communities.

Words flow effortlessly to weave together stories of birth and death, love lost or reignited, fears felt individually and collectively as each author gives depth and colour to the people and themes covered.

As I read these stories my own experiences of this period shaped my relationship to the characters in each story who I felt like I knew intimately.

The themes of communal prayer spaces that men take for granted, of dress codes that assumed a new meaning,of people retreating into internal spaces to find their connection to what truly matters recur throughout the collection.

This anthology is a must read that is likely to be read for a long time to come. Capturing the immediacy of living through a global pandemic, it will serve as a snapshot to a moment in the history of humanity, one that fundamentally transformed so much for so many.

This is a book you want to own. It will be relevant for generations to come. I suspect that as the pandemic progresses, each reading of the stories is likely to give them new depth and meaning.

Congratulations to the amazing team who used the lockdown experience to bring together their love and joy for writing, as a processing mechanism for the multiplicity of issues every human-being has faced in this period. Your collective pens have held up mirrors for many souls.