Sunday, May 7, 2017


Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 4/4/17
eBook review copy; 416 pages

Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic is a so-so overwritten novel focusing on obsession, stalking, and social media.
Alice Hare, 23, travels from England to NYC to stay with her ill grandmother. Even before she met her, Alice is obsessed with  Mizuko Himura, a Japanese writer living in NYC who teaches creative writing at Columbia. Alice's fantasies and thoughts are fueled by her desire to meet and establish the relationship she knows she is supposed to have with Mizuko. Alice stalkes her and manages to meet her in person via a social media clue mentioning a coffee shop, and proceeds to tests boundaries with her relationship with Mizuko.

I could go on with the description, but honestly, I don't like the novel enough to spend more time on this. The narrative jumps around in time, without building a sense of continuity or some identifying theme that allows the readers knowledge to grow with each chapter. The novel is over-long and slow paced, but still feels so disjointed that it wasn't a pleasure as much as it was a chore to keep reading. Additionally I didn't care for any of the characters. If you are going to throw a long, muddled, over-written plot at me with all sorts of obsessive narcissistic social media obsessed characters, at least give me one person to care about. By the end of this novel I was just celebrating the fact that it was over. It is given the so-so rating simply for the final third of the novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

No comments: