Adam Hasslet’s “Imagine Me Gone”, published in Greece by Metaixmio Publishing House, was voted by Time Magazine as one of the best novels of 2016. It is about the chronicle of a family which is stigmatized by the scourge of mental illness. A touching narrative of the life of three children, the three siblings who narrate one by one their story, with central figure the oldest brother, Michael, who suffers from some form of anxiety disorder. We had the honour to talk with the American writer, so we presented him with our queries and asked questions on his book.
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A lover of books cannot but find this one extraordinary. “Confiteor” by the Catalan writer Jaume Cabré stands out, even judging by its cover: the image of a young well-dressed boy, the son of an aristocratic family of times gone by, with his brillantined hair perfectly parted on the side, reaching for the book of his choice in front of an enormous bookcase. It’s exactly how one imagines the hero of this novel, Adrià Ardevol y Bosch as a boy in 1950s Barcelona. “Confiteor” unravels the love confession, the unspoken truths, the colossal letter of an “absent-minded wise 60 year-old man” addressing his dead beloved, in his effort to give her a present that will live eternally, so that he also will go on living “everytime someone reads these pages”, before Alzheimer’s kills off his brain for ever, devouring his memories.
So, I came to take an interview of Craig Walzer, the owner of “one of the prettiest bookstores in the world” with “a very nice atmosphere” – as I heard a couple of tourists mentioning, while I was trying to persuade my feet to move, or else I would miss my flight back. However, I did not move, with the thought that this might be the last time that I set my eyes on Atlantis Books, since it might close down on the 20th of October for the price of one million euro.
Unfortunately, this is not simply a presentation of a book that has touched me, as it’d be easier for me in that case to describe my feelings while reading it, feelings that keep intensifying day by day, because of the issue at hand. I wrote ‘Unfortunately’, because this novel, “Women on the beach”, by Tove Alsterdal, deals with stories of such unbelievable horror, similar to those we see daily occupying the front lines in the news titles about ‘illegal’ immigrants. People desperately trying to escape the horror back home, who find themeselves faced with the horror of ‘civilised’ Europe. The ‘unfortunate event’, if I am permitted to call it so, is the unbearable truth that this book reveals, which, although a work of fiction, is based on the author’s thorough research on real events that are interwoven with the current nightmarish reality my brain refuses to digest.
On an impulse, I sent an email for interview to Tove Alsterdal and I felt surprised (again) of how receptive and approachable are certain people who although being famous for their work they have no sign of pomposity and I felt a certain amount of hope that everything may turn out better after all – for everyone-! Her book, “Women on the beach”, is a police noir- international best seller and talks about an issue that distress us a lot the last years -especially the last couple of months- the sociopolitical phenomenon of “illegal” immigration. At least as far as I am concerned “Women on the Beach” urged me to learn a little bit more about the cruel reality that illegal immigrants have to face.