No One Is Talking About This: 'A literary star' Guardian
By Patricia Lockwood
A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence overwhelmed by the internet – or what she terms ‘the portal’. Are we in hell? the people of the portal ask themselves. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?
Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: ‘Something has gone wrong,’ and ‘How soon can you get here?’ As real life and its stakes collide with the increasing absurdity of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.
Irreverent and sincere, poignant and delightfully profane, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the infinite scroll and a meditation on love, language and human connection from one of the most original voices of our time.Tweet
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I thought this book was really unique and it challenged me to consider my own relationship with social media. By calling it the 'Portal', thereby disconnecting us from what we know, we can look at our own internet use from a different perspective. I became very aware of how much I check my phone while I'm reading! It took me a little bit of time to get used to the writing style, but I came to really appreciate the short passages.
There is no doubt that Patricia Lockwood is an intelligent writer with a great use of words and her reviews of the works of others are outstanding. However, for me, I felt that for all the use of clever writing this book fell short of a worthwhile read. It is listed as fiction but having heard her talk about it on several occasions she has stated that it is autobiographical. Part I is effectively the experience of our narrator as she enters, and communicates, through the portal. As a result of a tweet 'Can dogs be twins?' she is invited to go on a global tour and proclaimed a star. Dubious premise for me to be honest. Part II is the story of her niece and the sad family events that were experienced around her short life. To me this second part was over shadowed by the shallowness of the first which did its best to disconnect its reader from emotional connection. That said this book is as ever a well observed and sad commentary on our culture and in particular the way that some individuals in our society have disconnected due to their reliance on social media - in this case the 'portal'. For me the idea is not new and I felt reading this book that I was in fact disconnecting from anything useful to my life in terms of the time spent reading this. Maybe it would speak more to those who are addicted to the 'portal' and raise questions worthy of them to consider - if they were to read this in the first place.