CHARLES FINCH is a book critic and essayist as well as the author of fifteen novels. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and the recipient of the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. He lives in Los Angeles.
"Articulate and engaging . . . What Just Happened: Notes on a
Long Year is the journal you meant to write but were too busy
dashing through self-checkout lanes or curled in the fetal position
in front of Netflix to get anything down. Thankfully, Finch did.
His keen-eyed account is vivid and witty. It will make you laugh
despite the horrors . . . I am not enjoying the pandemic, but I did
enjoy Finch's articulate take on life in the midst of it. Missing
his friends and mourning the world as he knew it, Finch's account
has a unifying effect in the same way that good literature affirms
humanity by capturing a moment in time." -Christine Brunkhorst,
"Finch's precise and stunning day-by-day chronicle of the COVID-19 pandemic brings back all the shock and bewilderment, fear and outrage, grim humor and stark revelations . . . [Finch] is nimbly incisive, scathing, and hilarious; his political analysis keen and prescient . . . A forthright, sharp-witted, caring, and essential record of living through a tragic, transformative year."
- Donna Seaman, Booklist
"A spirited testimony to hard times . . . related with appealing candor . . . The narrative is freshest when the author hews closest to his own life: the childhood illness that left him immunocompromised; the consolations of smoking weed, listening to music, and especially his tender remembrance of his grandmother, the minimalist artist Anne Truitt. His radiant portrait of Truitt shines as a transcendent ending to his chronicle of a dark year."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Charles Finch has one of my favorite brains on the planet, and if time travel were possible, this is the book I'd hand myself in March of 2020. Not only as a crystal ball, but as a path through the inferno. What Just Happened is a reckoning, a processing, a release-an extraordinary record of extraordinary times."
-Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
"This book is so funny and so true. Charles Finch unpacks a year of plague, fear, shameless venality, and dizzying stupidity with an irrepressible wit and surgically precise cultural observations. I didn't know how badly I needed exactly this. Maybe you do too?"
-Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box
"I'm glad someone wrote it all down. I'm glad that someone was as acute an observer as Charles Finch. What Just Happened is a deeply thoughtful narrative of the year we'll too easily forget. The recounting works so vividly-furious, at times poetic, often darkly funny, and surprisingly hopeful. A remarkable and effortlessly woven blend of current events, history and cultural criticism."
-Lauren Hough, author of Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing
"When I began Charles Finch's diary of a pandemic year, I was skeptical about the prospect of reliving a terrible period. But Finch is so gifted as a stylist, thinker and observer that he made the familiar not only absorbing but also revelatory. His thoughts about his own life and the world at large are intelligent and original as well as deeply moral, and they unfurl in taut, witty sentences that both surprise and delight. Quietly profound, the book is also a true pleasure to read."
-Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.