On her weekly radio appearance on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW, librarian Nancy Pearl recommends Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample), calling it a “wonderful, albeit, painful reading experience.”
The novel, told in alternating points of view, explores how depression runs through a family. Nancy says it is centered on the oldest son and progresses forward in time as each character tells their part of the story.
She particularly praised the acuity with which Haslett explores depression, saying she does not think she has ever read another novel that has explored the disease so well. She was also impressed with Haslett’s “amazingly wonderful writing.”
Nancy suggests the novel to readers who like books that explore the human condition and those readers who wish to partake of a character’s life and crises.
She’s not alone in her praise. The novel, Haslett’s second after Union Atlantic and the short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here, which was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, is getting attention.
Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-, saying Haslett “illuminates not just madness but what it means to witness it, too.”
NPR’s Scott Simon interviewed Haslett on Weekend Edition Saturday and NPR posted a review as well, in which Heller McAlpin offers, “Haslett’s new novel forcefully demonstrates that he is unrivaled at capturing the lasting reverberations of suicide and the draining tedium and despair — along with the occasionally fabulous flights of fancy — that accompany intransigent mental illness. And he achieves this with an extraordinary blend of precision, beauty, and tenderness”
The NYT‘s “Sunday Book Review” assesses the novel as “ambitious and stirring” and adds, “it sneaks up on you with dark and winning humor, poignant tenderness and sentences so astute that they lift the spirit even when they’re awfully, awfully sad.”