An unusual memoir style book, Heti ruminates in a philosophical way on her life as she contemplates how it should be lived. She does this through the 'character' Sheila, a playwright with a failed marriage who searches to find herself again with arrival in her life of artist friends Margaux and Israel. Oftentimes crude in her very personal revelations, it is obviously the voice of a young woman who considers life in her own very unique way. Heti herself calls it a "novel from life". It was first published in 2010 in Canada before it was revised to be published in the U.S in 2012 and in UK/Ireland in early 2013. It was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction.
Heti's book identifies that uncertainty of identity that lurks in us all, seeing how a friend behaves and wanting to emulate them or seeing someone pass us on the street and thinking that we'd like to dress like them. And it challenges that aspect of our insecurity. But it is the disconcerting openness in her talk on sex, which is in no way sexy, that sometimes just takes away from the real argument that Heti puts forward which is ultimately one on art and ugliness. There are many ideas to consider in this book, and it is a challenging read, but the author's voice sometimes just jars too much.
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