Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic


Olivia Sudjic

Touted as the first great Instagram novel, it is a tale of sexual obsession, illusory online intimacy, digital stalking and paranoia on social media (think Talented Mr Ripley with a smart phone). The densely plotted narration plus constant switching of time and place, with regular digressions, make it difficult to digest, but well worth the effort - even if you need to read it twice to appreciate the wit and dark satire.


In my mind, this quest, resistant as I now felt towards it, was steeped in the self-help language that was all over instagram, which chronicled so many million journeys of self-discovery. I don’t know what those people felt they didn’t know about themselves, but I think it’s fair to say I had some legitimate concerns. Have you ever truly, keenly felt like you don’t know who you are? Do you ever do something and think, Who is at the controls? Like some mad pilot has locked you out of the cockpit? I definitely do... Physics, my first and second families, my philosophy degree, had all failed to help me answer that question. The former has led me to wonder whether I am one of an infinite number of Alices in multiple universes. A quantum fuck-up, which is someone who fucks up in any one of those universes but in different ways.

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