Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

As I suppose I’d come to expect from Haslett, this is a searing portrait of mental illness and its action on family, especially father-son relationships. Here it’s a family’s struggle to take care of Michael, the oldest son who has always been odd, and ill, after the suicide of John, the father, who was also mentally ill but existed much more in episodes.

It uses points of view from everyone, as both the siblings get jobs and partners, as Michael continues his destructive behavior. It feels more like an accurate record of the sort of experience such a family might have than an insight into human emotion — well done, but stopping there.

Maybe that isn’t fair — the children both cursed forever with this need to take care — but I never felt it transcend.

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