Books

Books to spark or allay our fears in the time of the coronavirus pandemic

Stories of how plagues affect us have existed since the Bible. Here are 10 notable works of pestilence lit.

People have been writing for centuries about deadly pandemics—the most terrifying of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—and the devastated world the rider leaves in his wake. Plague and what it does to humans physically and morally has been a major Western literary trope from God’s threat to Pharaoh (Exodus 9:15) through Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron—conceived in 1348 as the Black Death annihilated more than half of his fellow Florentines—to the present day. Here are 10 notable plague works, both classic and modern, by Canadians and others, most of them harrowing and some inspiring.