You Too Can Have a Body like Mine

Alexandra Kleeman. Harper, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-238867-4
Kleeman's debut novel is a fever dream of modern alienation following A, a young woman living in an unnamed city with B, her roommate, who has a tendency to bite people when she feels cornered. A has a boyfriend, C, who makes things "suddenly, instantaneously normal, just by explaining them." But A's dull proofreading job and her idle time spent watching Shark Week and porn with C start fading away, and events grow increasingly hallucinatory as B begins trying to look more like A (including cutting off her braid and giving it to A), and C becomes more distant. This is a world in which a man buys a supermarket's entire stock of veal, and something called Disappearing Dad Disorder runs rampant. But the strange becomes increasingly ordinary as it's filtered through A's quest to efface herself: "I looked forward to fully becoming my own ghost, which I had been told would resemble nothing and would look uniquely like itself." In the third act, a religious cult in which members wear ghostlike sheets takes center stage; members subsist entirely on a synthetic dessert snack called Kandy Kakes and are instructed to "misremember" (erase their own memories through meditative concentration). Kleeman's story is not really like any other, but could be described as a blend of the nightmarish disassociation of DeLillo's White Noise and the phantasmagoria of Bergman's Persona. It's a testament to Kleeman's ability that the text itself blurs and begins to run together—that it seems composed more of a uniform, ephemeral language than of a series of discrete scenes. This is a challenging novel, but undoubtedly one with something to say. One wonders what Kleeman will come up with next. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/11/2015
Release date: 08/25/2015
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-244988-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-06-238868-1
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-238869-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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