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  • Writer's pictureCorinna Carabetta

Hope and Suffering: A Look at Bruce Meyer’s “The Hours: Stories from a Pandemic”

If you’re in search of an emotionally moving piece of literature, “The Hours: Stories from a Pandemic” by Bruce Meyer would be a great place to start.

The collection is made up of six different stories whose thematic thread truly makes “The Hours” stand out from the crowd.

In “Zoom”, a nurse struggles through long and heartbreaking hours at the hospital due to the pandemic, while in “Our Love is Here to Stay”, a deaf war veteran struggles to find work post-service so he can live out his days with his beloved wife. In each of his stories, Bruce Meyer touches on the intertwining themes of hope and suffering.

To suffer is to be human. It is inescapable and it manifests in a multitude of ways. We suffer through a hard-days work. We suffer through mental health issues. We suffer through the loss of a loved one.

Suffering exists on a spectrum, but the Gabriel Garcia Marquez inscription in the opening of the collection reminds us: “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it”.

Bruce Meyer’s stories are wonderfully detailed and have the ability to completely immerse the reader into the characters’ emotional environment. What truly stood out to me is the realistic way that Meyer approaches the characters’ struggles.

In an ideal world, one would always find the positives in a dark and difficult situation. However, the truth of the matter is that this is not always the case. One’s struggles do not always follow a linear path to resolution. Sometimes the road is bumpy and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is impossible for quite some time.

The author does a fantastic job at conveying this in his stories. While some parts of the collection end on a bittersweet note, others are harsh, and starkly real.

The inclusion of these unhappy endings validates the complexity of the human experience. There is a lot of pressure in society to bounce back quickly and to always maintain a positive outlook on life. But these unhappy endings show that this is not the way emotions work.

Sometimes suffering is not so easy to overcome but Meyer ensures that this is only normal. What matters is that you allow yourself to feel.

The circumstances of suffering within each story are varied, however, the similarity lies in their effects on the reader and the emotions that they evoke.

“The Hours” is truly a collection about humanity and the depth of emotions. Bruce Meyer invites us to reconnect with our sentimental and empathetic nature while providing us with a grouping of stories that are sure to inspire some tears.

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