Skip to Main Content

A stunning collection of new short stories originally commissioned by The New York Times Magazine as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, from twenty-nine authors including Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, Colm Toibin, Kamilia Shamsie and more, in a project inspired by Boccaccio’s The Decameron.

When reality is surreal, only fiction can make sense of it.

In 1353, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote “The Decameron”: one hundred nested tales told by a group of young men and women passing the time at a villa outside Florence while waiting out the gruesome Black Death, a plague that killed more than 25 million people. Some of the stories are silly, some are bawdy, some are like fables.

In March of 2020, the editors of The New York Times Magazine created The Decameron Project, an anthology with a simple, time-spanning goal: to gather a collection of stories written as our current pandemic first swept the globe. How might new fiction from some of the finest writers working today help us memorialize and understand the unimaginable? And what could be learned about how this crisis will affect the art of fiction?

These twenty-nine new stories, from authors including Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, Colm Toibin, Kamila Shamsie and David Mitchell vary widely in texture and tone. Their work will be remembered as a historical tribute to a time and place unlike any other in our lifetimes, and offer perspective and solace to the reader now and in a future where coronavirus is, hopefully, just a memory.

Table of Contents:
“Preface” by Caitlin Roper
“Introduction” by Rivka Galchen
“Recognition” by Victor LaValle
“A Blue Sky Like This” by Mona Awad
“The Walk” by Kamila Shamsie
“Tales from the LA River” by Colm Tóibín
“Clinical Notes” by Liz Moore
“The Team” by Tommy Orange
“The Rock” by Leila Slimani
“Impatient Griselda” by Margaret Atwood
“Under the Magnolia” by Yiyun Li
“Outside” by Etgar Keret
“Keepsakes” by Andrew O’Hagan
“The Girl with the Big Red Suitcase” by Rachel Kushner
“The Morningside” by Téa Obreht
“Screen Time” by Alejandro Zambra
“How We Used to Play” by Dinaw Mengestu
“Line 19 Woodstock/Glisan” by Karen Russell
“If Wishes Was Horses” by David Mitchell
“Systems” by Charles Yu
“The Perfect Travel Buddy” by Paolo Giordano
“An Obliging Robber” by Mia Cuoto
“Sleep” by Uzodinma Iweala
“Prudent Girls” by Rivers Solomon
“That Time at My Brother’s Wedding” by Laila Lalami
“A Time of Death, The Death of Time” by Julián Fuks
“The Cellar” by Dina Nayeli
“Origin Story” by Matthew Baker
“To the Wall” by Esi Edugyan
“Barcelona: Open City” by John Wray
“One Thing” by Edwidge Danticat

Photo Credit:

Dennis Boutsikaris won an OBIE Award for his performance in Sight Unseen and played Mozart in Amadeus on Broadway. Among his films are *batteries not included, The Dream Team, and Boys On the Side. His many television credits include And Then There Was One, Chasing the Dragon and 100 Center Street.

Chloe Aftel

Rachel Kushner is the author of internationally acclaimed novels The Mars Room, The Flamethrowers, and Telex from Cuba, as well as a book of short stories, The Strange Case of Rachel K. She has won the Prix Médicis and been a finalist for the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was twice a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. She is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and the recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her books have been translated into twenty-six languages.

David Mitchell is a prolific inventor of original paperfolds, action novelties, and manipulative puzzles. His coauthored Paper Airplane Fold-a-Day calendar has been popular worldwide for several years. Mitchell is also the author of many books on specialist aspects of origami, such as Origami (Dover Publications), Sticky Note Origami (Sterling), Mathematical Origami (Tarquin), and Complete Origami (Collins & Brown).

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio UK (November 10, 2020)
  • Runtime: 6 hours and 13 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781398502178