ARB Podcast with Ethan Lou, author of “Field Notes From a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended”

ethanlou

We are just over a year from when global news first reported a new type of pneumonia emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan. A lockdown of Wuhan on 23 January  2020, was the first indication that these stories were more serious than originally thought.

All of us know what happened next: COVID-19 spread from China to other countries in Asia, then to Europe, then to North America, then worldwide. To slow the spread, countries frantically imposed travel restrictions on those coming from places affected by COVID-19: a massive shift away from the increasingly open borders seen over the past two decades.

Field Notes from a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended, Ethan Lou (Signal, September 2020)
Field Notes from a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended, Ethan Lou (Signal, September 2020)

One traveler caught up in these new restrictions was Ethan Lou, author of Field Notes From a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended. Ethan arrives in China in early 2020 to visit his family, as the first leg of a trip around the world. On each leg of his journey, he sees how different parts of the world are transformed by the global pandemic. Field Notes From a Pandemic, named among the CBC’s best Canadian non-fiction books of 2020, is one half travelogue, one half commentary, in and about a changed world.

In this interview, Ethan and I talk about his journey around the world, and how COVID-19 made a routine trip exceptionally complicated. He shares how he saw the world change in real-time, and which of those changes may end up sticking around.

Ethan Lou is a former Reuters reporter and has served as a visiting journalist at the University of British Columbia. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the South China Morning Post, the Walrus, and the Washington Post. His next book is Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turmoil in the Cryptocurrency Wild West. He can be found on Twitter at @Ethan_Lou, and his work can be found at https://ethanlou.com/.

 

 


Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He works at a think tank in Hong Kong. His writing has also appeared in The South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, China Daily and Caixin.