Interesting fairly recent book about a couple living in New York City just as the coronavirus pandemic breaks out. Diana and her fiance, Finn, are almost ready to leave on their vacation to the Galapagos Islands when the virus hits. Finn is a resident at the hospital, so at the last moment he can’t go, he is needed at work, but urges Diana to go without him, the trip is non-refundable. Diana has just been laid off from Sotheby’s, where she had almost secured the auction of a hugely famous work by Toulouse-Lautrec, which would’ve boosted her career by leaps and bounds, but the sale was put on hold due to the impending pandemic. Against her better judgement she goes ahead, and arrives at the island where they had planned to stay just as everything shuts down. the hotel is closed, there is no transportation, she can’t leave and even if she could, there are no flights back to New York. A woman who works at the hotel gives her a tiny apartment in back of her house to stay in. Her luggage was lost so she has only what she managed to bring with her on the plane. Over the next few weeks she meets a teenage girl and her father and spends time with them, hiking, swimming and exploring the island in an effort to salvage her vacation. Cell phone service is almost non-existent and the internet is only available in the hotel, which is closed. Diana is sending postcards back to Finn, and receiving some emails sporadically but is essentially cut off from civilization. Which is both a good thing and a bad one, since there is no virus on the island and with no traffic coming in or out, the chances of infection are minimal. One message that does come through is that her mother, from whom she is for the most part estranged, has died in the nursing home she is living in. Diana has never been close to her mom, she was a journalistic photographer traveling the globe to take her award winning photos instead of staying home with her family. Life goes on in this way for several weeks and then……Diana wakes up in the hospital back in New York, the same hospital where Finn works, and is on a ventilator. She has almost died from coronavirus, and unlike most of those who reach the stage of ventilation, she slowly recovers. But what she can’t seem to get over is the very real experience of her time on the Galapagos Islands. She begins to research what her shrink is calling a near death experience and finds many others who experience life-like realities just as she did. While she recovers back at their apartment, she learns that her mother has not died and she manages to visit with her on her little screened porch, Diana on the outside and her mother on the inside, since visitors are not allowed due to the risk of infection.
So it appears in this book that Diana has decided the experiences with the people in the Galapagos were real, in spite of what everyone else thinks about it. I can for the most part accept that, but what about her body? Even if it were true that she really did go to Galapagos and meet these people, how would they have been able to be aware of her? There is no denying that her body was inside a ventilator in the hospital in New York, I’m sure the staff would’ve noticed if weren’t there. That part I can’t quite figure out, maybe you can if you read the book. A good choice