The Lockdown Tales follows ten people, seven women and three men, who escape the city in the early stages of Covid-19’s arrival in Australia, and gather at a farm in Roughit, NSW. There they work, drink, flirt, make music and above tell each other stories. The stories they tell make up most of the book.
However, the book also follows the interaction between the ten story-tellers, each of whom has their own arc.
The stories are bawdy, funny, political, satirical, occasionally tragic, human and humanist. They are told over five Fridays, each day having a different theme. The five themes are:
I wrote The Lockdown Tales because I, like many of the people around me, began to despair when the lockdown began and soon stopped being an amusing novelty. I needed something to remind myself that kindness, cleverness, courage and hope are better than their alternatives. I created The Lockdown Tales to meet that need in me, and I hoped it might be amusing and encouraging for others.
The framework is based on Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, which was written in 1351, shortly after the Black Death scoured its way through Italy’s population.
One difference is that when Boccaccio wrote his stories (which, like mine, are mostly not directly about the pandemic) he knew that his plague had moved on. I don’t have that luxury, and I’ve written while ours is still very much with us.