Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.
To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.
Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!
What better way to spend a Friday!
Today’s feature is I Am No One, by Patrick Flanery, a tense, mesmerizing novel about memory, privacy, fear, and what happens when our past catches up with us.
Beginning: At the time of my return to New York earlier this year I had been living in Oxford for more than a decade. Having failed to get tenure at Columbia I believed Britain might offer a way to restart my career, though I always planned to move back to America, imagining I would stay abroad for a few years at most. In the interim, however, America has changed so radically—by coincidence I left just after the attacks in New York—that I find myself feeling no less alienated now than I did during those long years in Britain.
56: As I showed her to the door, I turned and said, before thinking about the words or what their effect might be, “You know, Rachel, one of the great things about America, one of the reasons I wanted to come home to my country, is that anyone can speak any language in any possible accent and still be accorded the status of American.”
Synopsis: After a decade living in England, Jeremy O’Keefe returns to New York, where he has been hired as a professor of German history at New York University. Though comfortable in his new life, and happy to be near his daughter once again, Jeremy continues to feel the quiet pangs of loneliness. Walking through the city at night, it’s as though he could disappear and no one would even notice.
But soon, Jeremy’s life begins taking strange turns: boxes containing records of his online activity are delivered to his apartment, a young man seems to be following him, and his elderly mother receives anonymous phone calls slandering her son. Why, he wonders, would anyone want to watch him so closely, and, even more upsetting, why would they alert him to the fact that he was being watched?
As Jeremy takes stock of the entanglements that marked his years abroad, he wonders if he has unwittingly committed a crime so serious as to make him an enemy of the state. Moving towards a shattering reassessment of what it means to be free in a time of ever more intrusive surveillance, Jeremy is forced to ask himself whether he is “no one,” as he believes, or a traitor not just to his country but to everyone around him.
I love the sound of this one. What do you think?