Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nobody is Ever Missing.

I just finished reading Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey.

The book is a really successful representation of living with depression and having a mind that is distracted and even removed from your life. What I mean by removed is that it’s this out-of-body feeling of distance and of detachment that sometimes flirts with disinterest.

If you've never felt this, your reading this is the equivalent of having taken a wrong turn, and this isn't a great place for tourists. You’re welcome to visit, but don’t complain about not speaking the language or not understanding the customs. The come from a very specific context.

This isn't really a book review. I enjoyed the book, but I mainly was impressed by how accurately it depicted the internal monologue of someone who is living through something alienating. It’s also more than that. It’s a dissociation that is similar to a lack of focus, to a blurred vision. You can see shapes and fuzz, you can deduce what you should be feeling, but you can’t quite get there. It isn't a choice either, it isn't trying to touch something and failing, it’s seeing it next to you, maybe recognizing it (maybe not) and it not being something you’re familiar with at that moment. It’s an alien sentiment at the moment. A foreign tongue.

Lacey does a great job of creating moments where we’re following a thread of thought. She accurately embodies what it’s like to always be spinning that thread, but not necessarily in the manner most do. It’s being irrelevant or ridiculous is of no value. Nothing is of value. It just happens. The thread links things together in a web that maybe she or I can identify, but maybe we can’t. We aren't always privy to the oddity of it. The constant spinning of it, is often against your will. All you want is quiet. But even the desire for solitude is in itself a social faux pas. There seems to be a great distrust of the anti-social. 

I just thought it was nice reading about someone’s experience of (what I read to be) mental illness. The main character is clearly going through something, and is actively trying to get away from something that just keeps following her. For her, it’s other people.For me, it would be my place in the world. The space I occupy. My role. I often think about how I’d love to go out to the middle of nowhere and rest and “do nothing.” Erase whatever it is I officially am. But nothing would change, really. I’d still be with myself. It would only be a temporary distraction from whatever it is I deal with on a daily basis.

Nobody is Ever Missing.

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