KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST
"Haslett is one of the country's most talented writers, equipped with a sixth sense for characterization."- -Wall Street Journal
"Ambitious and stirring . Read more...
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KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST
"Haslett is one of the country's most talented writers, equipped with a sixth sense for characterization."--Wall Street Journal
"Ambitious and stirring . . . With Imagine Me Gone, Haslett has reached another level." --New York Times Book Review
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Best Books of 2016 So Far -- Time and Refinery29
From a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, a ferociously intimate story of a family facing the ultimate question: how far will we go to save the people we love the most?
When Margaret's fiance, John, is hospitalized for depression in 1960s London, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans despite what she now knows of his condition, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. Imagine Me Gone is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic who makes sense of the world through parody. Over the span of decades, his younger siblings -- the savvy and responsible Celia and the ambitious and tightly controlled Alec -- struggle along with their mother to care for Michael's increasingly troubled and precarious existence.
Told in alternating points of view by all five members of the family, this searing, gut-wrenching, and yet frequently hilarious novel brings alive with remarkable depth and poignancy the love of a mother for her children, the often inescapable devotion siblings feel toward one another, and the legacy of a father's pain in the life of a family.
With his striking emotional precision and lively, inventive language, Adam Haslett has given us something rare: a novel with the power to change how we see the most important people in our lives.
Depression and family dynamics
When Margaret’s fiancé is hospitalized for depression in the 1960s, she is shaken but ultimately unwilling to abandon the man she loves. Imagine Me Gone traces the aftershock of Margaret’s fateful choice as John’s condition ripples out over the subsequent decades, affecting not only their life together but the lives of their three children.
Although depression and anxiety are foes that many authors have explored in the pages of literature, it is hard to think of a novel that presents as nuanced and intimate a portrait of these diseases as Adam Haslett’s Imagine Me Gone. Told from the perspectives of each of the five members of the family, the novel offers a shockingly raw portrayal of how mental illness afflicts individuals as well as families, sometimes tearing them apart but also binding them closer. But to simply label this as a book about depression—however expert its portrayal—minimizes what Haslett, a previous Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, has achieved with his third work of fiction. At its core, this is a pensive examination of the very human struggle to connect and find peace—with others and with ourselves—and the nature of time and how it passes. Haslett’s keen eye for and rigorous examination of the intricate messiness of family dynamics calls to mind Jonathan Franzen’s 21st-century masterpiece on intergenerational dysfunction, The Corrections, although Haslett’s approach, while at times playful, is ultimately more tender and sympathetic.
Imagine Me Gone is immensely personal and private, yet feels universal and ultimately essential in its scope. In its pages, Haslett has laid bare the agonies and ecstasies of the human condition and the familial ties that bind. The end result is a book that you do not read so much as feel, deeply and intensely in the very marrow of your bones.