The View From My Living Room—By Ariela Freedman

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story of a single day during the strange, uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

We’re thrilled to announce that these stories have been gathered in Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic (Guernica Press). To learn more and buy the book, please visit

Please also join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

The term “living room” came into common use after the First World War. Before the living room, there was the front parlour. This room was a formal showpiece, and before the proliferation of funeral homes, they were used to lay out the dead. After the many deaths of the First World War and the Spanish Flu, the front parlour became a haunted space. As early as 1910, the Dutch-born editor of Ladies’ Home Journal published an article titled “A Living Room is Born,” suggesting it was time to revive the staid front parlour; that is, it was time for the room to come back to life. The living room was a rebranding of a space where the dead were once venerated, at a time when they were so many that the house could no longer hold them.

To read the rest of the story, please support our community and check out Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic

One thought on “The View From My Living Room—By Ariela Freedman

  1. Thanks for you lively living room thoughts. All the bits of decor seen on line lately do add up. Never judge a person by his bookcase? (This could be edited to celebrity loft.)
    I sometimes ponder the family room versus living room. The back parlour worn woven cushion versus the front parlour plastic sofa covering!


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