Hiraeth is written by Haydn Wilks, and it is the account of the Covid times, a lockdown ovel written by a millenial. Millenials have had an interesting journey – from a childhood without internet, to the dawn of the new millenium and the financial crash, followed by a recession, a global pandemic, and another recession. Our generation has seen remarkable peace and prosperity in large parts of the world, with the threat and horrific ravages of war in other parts.
In Hiraeth, Wilks presents a snapshot in time, a period of 18 months that represented the peak of the pandemic in the UK. The author presents a picture of society interspersed with his own personal journey. From travelling in the far east just as Covid starts to break out, Wilks is forced to spend the first round of lockdown with his father in Wales. The anecdotes here are great and will resonate with all those who found themselves in unfamiliar multi-generational living arrangements.
As the pandemic rages on, the world slowly opens up and we find ourselves in amongst the author’s group of friends, who are an irreverent and eclectic bunch. Through their collective experience, there is a social commentary on various aspects of the pandemic – the mass surveillance of people, the upheavals of the economy and how people went through compliance and non-compliance of the lockdowns.
Overall this book will appeal to those who wish to look back on this period and reflect on the times they’ve led through the lens of the author. The writing style is alternative and stream-of-consciousness, with a fair bit of swearing involved. It’s meant to be read in bursts, I guess, sort of like how Covid unfolded in the UK. So if you’re a fan of this style and topic, be sure to give this book a go this summer.