cover image Who You Think I Am

Who You Think I Am

Camille Laurens, trans. from the French by Adriana Hunter. Other Press, $14.95 ISBN 978-1-59051-832-8

Told through documents including depositions, transcriptions, and novel fragments, Laurens’s (In His Arms) intricate and cerebral novel explores the construction of identity and the politics of age, gender, and desire. The story is introduced through tapes of therapy sessions between divorced 48-year-old comparative literature professor Claire Millecam and a therapist identified only as Marc B. Frustrated by her elusive lover, Joe, Claire decides to track him by friending his sometime roommate, Chris, on Facebook. To interest the younger “KissChris,” she constructs a persona using the name Claire Antunes and a photograph of a younger woman she claims she found on Google. Her immersion in the virtual relationship with Chris and her false persona deepens, and both begin to obsess her—but when she tries to make a break, disaster strikes. As the voices of Marc B., Claire’s ex-husband Paul, and a writer named Camille Laurens are added to the narrative, the “facts” first established begin to dissolve, breaking open to reveal new possibilities. Though heavy-handed disquisitions on gender disparity and female aging early in the book may deter some readers, Laurens crafts the novel’s nested secrets meticulously, producing tricky and thought-provoking surprises until the very end. (Mar.)