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The Resource Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic

Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic

Label
Sympathy
Title
Sympathy
Statement of responsibility
Olivia Sudjic
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"At twenty-three, Alice Hare leaves England for New York. She becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, a Japanese writer living in New York, whose life story has strange parallels to her own and who she believesis her "Internet twin." What seems to Mizuko like a chance encounter with Alice is anything but--after all, in the age of connectivity, nothing is coincidence. Their subsequent relationship is doomed from the outset, exposing a tangle of lies and sexual encounters as three families across the globe collide, and the most ancient of questions--where do we come from?--is answered just by searching online."--
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Sudjic’s engrossing debut novel explores how technology dissolves personal boundaries while stripping away true intimacy. Alice travels from London to New York to stay with her sick grandmother during the spring of 2014. Even before she meets Mizuko, a writer who teaches creative writing at Columbia, Alice is obsessed with her. When circumstances align—nudged as far as possible by Alice for the two of them to meet—Alice is desperate for the kind of closeness she’s always imagined could be possible between her and the lauded writer. Physical, emotional, and digital boundaries are tested and broken as Alice struggles to replicate her close connection with Mizuko’s social media persona in her organic relationship with the real Mizuko. Whether that will happen rests on Mizuko’s ever-changing whims, but she simultaneously wields her technological abilities over Mizuko, who is transfixed by social media. Will the flesh-and-blood reality ever fall in line with Alice’s Instagram-addled fantasy? Sudjic’s story is disjointed, alluring, disorienting, and provoking, touching on many contemporary concerns arising from the pervasiveness of social media. At many moments the character of Alice is rather too inscrutable, and Sudjic’s steady, reliable prose is not enough to anchor some of Alice’s more dramatic actions. While some readers will find the ending confusing and unsatisfying, none will be bored by this frenetic, timely story of digital fixation actualized. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed 02/06/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 06, p)
  • The narrator of Sudjic's debut is an online stalker who befriends the object of her obsession. Alice is visiting her grandmother in New York when she becomes infatuated with Japanese author Mizuko Himura. The obsession starts after Alice contrives to meet Mizuko in a coffee shop (location posted online). Social media plays an enormous role in the novel and both women's lives. Mizuko uses her social media presence to publicize her work but spends more time curating her online persona than writing, while Alice uses social media primarily for stalking Mizuko. Mizuko is everything to Alice, and Sudjic succeeds in creating a self-destructive, desperate narrative of passionate infatuation. The novel is unrelenting in its description of Alice's suffocating need to possess Mizuko. That need drives the story forward at an increasingly frantic pace as the potential damage becomes more obvious with each mistake Alice makes. VERDICT Recommended with reservations. This is a good choice for book clubs, but readers less attached to social media will find it hard to sympathize with the main characters, whose narcissism and need for external validation cause real harm to the people around them. [See Prepub Alert, 10/31/16.]—Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. Lib., MD --Pamela Mann (Reviewed 02/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 1, p76)
  • A first-time novelist considers identity and obsession in the digital age.Alice Hare is no longer quite herself—not that she ever had much of a self to begin with. Having been abandoned by her father, she has no one but her mother, a woman who is possessive, secretive, and manipulative. As she tries to piece together her own history, Alice becomes fixated on the period of her life she and her parents spent in Japan. A baby at the time, she has no memories of this sojourn, so she's free to invent. Eventually, this attempt to fabricate an identity turns into an intense fascination with the author Mizuko Himura, whom Alice comes to know in real life after stalking her via social media. This would make a great premise for a thriller, but it's quite evident Sudjic has more literary ambitions. The result is a story that's hard to follow even though it moves at an incredibly slow pace. One difficulty is that it moves around in time, and disparate episodes don't build on each other so much as they expose how much the reader doesn't know. This might make stylistic sense for a novel about a young woman tortured by the lacunae in her own life, but it's dissatisfying and disorienting. For example, the novel begins with Alice being shut out by Mizuko, and then it shifts into a long stretch dominated by letters from Alice's paternal grandmother. We learn about Alice's gap year in Japan after she graduated from university, and her momentous first evening with Mizuko happens without any description of how and why Alice became infatuated with her. Another example: Alice makes passing mention of her "boyfriend at that time," which comes as a shock since this is not only the first we're hearing of a romantic entanglement of any kind in her life ever, but it's also the first hint that she's made any new relationships at all since her move from England to New York. It doesn't help that Alice's real-world connection to Mizuko relies on a preposterous series of coincidences. An intriguing premise delivered in turgid prose.(Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2017)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10557192
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Sudjic, Olivia
Dewey number
823/.92
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6119.U26
LC item number
S96 2017
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Technology
  • Social media
  • Lesbians
  • Families
  • Lesbians
  • Families
  • Lesbians
  • Social media
  • Technology
Label
Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn953710025
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
406 pages
Isbn
9780544836594
Lccn
2016049097
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)953710025
Label
Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn953710025
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
406 pages
Isbn
9780544836594
Lccn
2016049097
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)953710025

Library Locations

    • McMinnville Public LibraryBorrow it
      225 NW Adams Street, McMinnville, OR, 97128, US
      45.210071 -123.199661
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