A Jane Austen Love Story in The Time of COVID

In one of my newsletters from JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of North America, I came across a moving story about a man in a London hospital with Covid symptoms so severe that doctors told his two sons to say goodbye.

After 127 days, this patient left the hospital alive.

Despite being on a ventilator and suffering a stroke from an induced coma, doctors detected flickers on a brain scan. A sign of hope?

Both sons recalled their father telling them if he ever had to stay in a hospital, it would help if he had a book. Enter Pride and Prejudice, what their father called his “comfort read.”

The sons loaded Austen’s novel onto an e-reader and played the story as their father lay unconscious in bed. Doctors couldn’t say if he would be able to hear the story or not. Does the sound of a voice reach into the mind of an unconscious person?

To everyone’s amazement, the patient left the hospital more than four months later. Both sons were equally amazed that their father could recite Pride and Prejudice by heart.

The power of love and the power of storytelling move us in ways that reach deep into our souls and spark something within us. The essence, perhaps, of being alive.

Carpe diem. Pluck the day as it is ripe. Seize the moment. Immerse yourself in a novel and be swept away . . .

Audio link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000ldl8

Listen at 36:35 mark

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