A member of the library's book group wrote to me to call attention to this: “I had never understood the invisibility of a human. How we take to be a human is a spirit we can never see. Not until I sat in that room with the dead vehicle that had carried my brother through his life, and for which I had always mistaken him.” (page 332) She said that it was the best description of death she had ever seen.
Adam Haslett's IMAGINE ME GONE is not an easy book to read. I began by listening to the audiobook, and quickly discovered that I needed some distance from the material - the distance that comes from having to decode the words visually. Having the voices of these characters delivered seamlessly via audio was too much to digest. I had to take a break or two, or three before I could make my way through the lives of these fictional family members who were written so authentically that they could be mistaken for a neighbor, acquaintance, or friend.
A finalist for both the Pulitzer and National Book Award, IMAGINE ME GONE gives voice to what goes on inside the heads of its characters as their actions and afflictions mark their lives dramatically. Questions of family, loyalty, identity, pain, and the tragedy of what mental illness does to a family are what is presented in fluid prose. A great selection for book groups, however you may want to have a trigger warning.