A couple of years ago I began writing a book which is coming out this September under the title The Joker. It is a literary thriller, a story of lives and relationships disrupted by the Avian Flu, and the characters’ survival of the pandemic. The main action happens in Stuyvesant Town, a big apartment building complex in Manhattan where I lived at the time, and which, in its own way, has a secluded feeling about it like a village in a megalopolis.

As I began writing I was mainly interested...

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