Covid-19 is an episode in human history. But how do we tell its story?

To come to terms with what has happened – the losses, the fears, the conspiratorial craziness, the isolation, the political conflict and all the rest – the pandemic will need its own story.

A woman getting tested for Covid-19 in Wuhan, China’s Hubei province, on April 19, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
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(NYTIMES) - In popular culture, a successful plot is a recognisable plot - the hero's epic journey, the marriage's inevitable consummation, the dashing warrior who slays the monster.

Some narratologists argue that there are no more than a handful of basic plots - story lines that are recycled again and again, such as "the quest", "rebirth" and "rags to riches". Hollywood producers tend to agree, as illustrated by an old industry joke my father, a screenwriter, once told me about the head of production who demands a movie plot that is exactly the same as the last one - except different.

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