Masked continues the exploration of life during the pandemic that Joe began in Taking Shelter. The new volume explores the period when we were allowed out of our homes and back into the world, a world that was different from the one we left just a few months before.
Masked is an extraordinary collection of different voices and perspectives, all telling stories about the experience of living through the pandemic under their masks.
When I was a boy, there was a popular TV show that featured a scantily masked do-gooder known as the Lone Ranger, daring and good-hearted, who rode a white stallion named Silver while he performed deeds of bravery throughout Texas.
The Lone Ranger was modest. He sought no glory. He wouldn’t stick around to be thanked after capturing the obligatory outlaws. Instead, he rode off on his white stallion (Hi Ho Silver!) leaving a clutch of grateful plain-folk in his wake, who asked each other in tremulous, breathless voices, “Who was that masked man?”
Now we lived in a world where almost everyone was masked, but regardless of the spin that we tried to put on it, bravery, daring, and good-heartedness were not our defining characteristics.
There were other things going on beneath our masks.