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 fiancée, 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.
"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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Adam Haslett invites us into the lives of a family whose collective memories include idyllic beach vacations and rowdy banter but also sublimated anguish and mental illness. Imagine Me Gone is beautifully written, shifting between the perspectives of married American–British couple John and Margaret and their three children: Michael, Celia, and Alec. Eldest brother Michael is extraordinarily intelligent, but there’s also a differentness to him that’s unsettling to those he loves. Every beat of Haslett’s story rings true, heightening the sense of immediacy, suspense, and loss.
Here was the world unfettered by dread... The present had somehow ceased to be an emergency," writes Michael, the eldest son of a tightly knit British-American family, when he receives his first dose of Klonopin. Pulitzer-finalist Haslett's latest is a sprawling, ambitious epic about a family bound not only by familial love, but by that sense of impending emergency that hovers around Michael, who has inherited his father John's abiding depression and anxiety. The book begins with the family as a nuclear unit, the narrative switching among the parents and the kids (Michael, Celia, and Alec), as a cure for Michael's condition seems close. When tragedy undermines the unit, though, the search for an antidote takes on a new urgency, as Michael cycles through obsessions with music and girlfriends, and Celia and Alec attempt to keep their own relationships afloat. This is a book that tenderly and luminously deals with mental illness and with the life of the mind. Occasionally, the narrative style (it switches among monologues, letters, and messages from the doctor's office) feels stiff. But in Michael, Haslett has created a most memorable character. This is a hypnotic and haunting novel.