From the acclaimed author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers comes a taut, spellbinding literary thriller that probes the essence and malleability of identity.
In Vendela Vida’s taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. While checking into her hotel, the woman is robbed of her wallet and passport—all of her money and identification. Though the police investigate, the woman senses an undercurrent of complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities—she knows she’ll never recover her possessions. Stripped of her identity, she feels burdened by the crime yet strangely liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone she chooses.
A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. The star reels her in deeper, though, and soon she’s inhabiting the actress’s skin off set, too—going deeper into the Casablancan night and further from herself. And so continues a strange and breathtaking journey full of unexpected turns, an adventure in which the woman finds herself moving further and further away from the person she once was.
Told with vibrant, lush detail and a wicked sense of humor, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is part literary mystery, part psychological thriller—an unforgettable novel that explores free will, power, and a woman’s right to choose not her past, perhaps not her present, but certainly her future. This is Vendela Vida’s most assured and ambitious novel yet.
A 34-year-old divorc e takes a 10-day vacation in Casablanca and, after her backpack is stolen, decides to shed her identity, a decision that releases her into the streets of Morocco and the depths of her own past. With her fourth novel, Vida (The Lovers) returns to familiar themes of identity and recovery, concerns that are well suited to stories about traveling abroad. Suspicious of her hotel and the police after the robbery, the woman takes advantage of a clerical error and commandeers another American's identity: Sabine Alyse. With Sabine's credit cards, she checks into the Hyatt, where a large film production has taken over the hotel, and soon makes friends with the famous actress starring in the movie. Written in the second person, the novel invites the reader to experience the protagonist's separation firsthand. And as the woman's situation becomes more complicated and her actions increasingly brazen, bits of her past are teased out. The result is an emotional and formally clever exploration of identity. Vida's descriptive powers and restraint help to avoid the repetitive hammering of you that bogs down most second-person novels. Hard-boiled and inventive, the book takes a bold swing at mixing genres.
Interesting concept. Enjoyed what was there... But I was left wanting more. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to the small number of pages.
Gone so soon
It was a really good read. But I was shocked when it suddenly ended! It's a very short book and the story does not end. It needs one more third of the story told and rapped up
Absolutely love it
I was touched by the scene she cried in the film. The story was familiar yet new. She is good at describing women's mind. Absolutely love the book because I'm still thinking about it from time to time months after reading it.