The Monday Book – No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Yet another guest review by Janelle Bailey, retired Literature teacher.

I picked this one up when learning it had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

This is a very unusual and interesting book in format: nearly all brief paragraphs, connected sometimes and others not at all, to what precedes or follows, and unfortunately my reading of it felt similarly, then, disconnected and disjointed in some futuristic, technologically driven way that I cannot quite describe. But ultimately, I think it did its job and well, given that seemingly matches, to a degree the content of the book–how connected but really overwhelmed we all are by so many pushes and notifications, so many screens, so much media, and more.

The main character is an influencer of sorts in some “portal” of a platform, where she has been elevated to this esteemed position and with great expectation. But she is also just a common soul trying to make sense of it all as well.

And then at the book and story’s core is the birth of her niece, her sister’s daughter, and with a very rare disorder, likely Proteus Syndrome, as the author’s notes support. And so here the story being told and the reality of the author’s own life and these challenges are blurred together to, in yet another book, blur fact and fiction, it seems.

When I read this book again I will do so less to finish it than to savor it, a few passages a day, stretching it across plenty of savour and thinking time, as I now believe it would be better digested. And I am not certain that I really “got it all” the first time like I will the next.

It presents many a profound idea, including this one: “Why were we all writing like this now? Because a new kind of connection had to be made, and blink, synapse, little space-between was the only way to make it. Or because, and this was more frightening, it was the way the portal wrote” (63).

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