Find Me: A Novel

Find Me: A Novel

by Laura van den Berg


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Find Me: A Novel by Laura van den Berg

Long-listed for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize

After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us Find Me, her highly anticipated debut novel--a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy's immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients--including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.

As winter descends, the hospital's fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374536077
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 643,670
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Laura van den Berg's first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth, won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The Bard Fiction Prize, and was named a "Best Book of 2013" by over a dozen venues, including NPR, The Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Both collections were shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The recipient of a 2014 O. Henry Award, Laura currently lives in the Boston area and is a Writer-in-Residence at Bard College. Find Me is her first novel.

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Find Me: A Novel 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not exactly sci-fi but not entirely realistic either. Excellent atmosphere & description and some mystery. Wish the ending was more conclusive. I may read the author's short stories because her style is unique. I expect she will develop into something special in time. Recommended for those who want something slightly surreal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very strange book.
BonnieMcCune More than 1 year ago
“Find Me”: a “what if” we don’t want to answer in an examination of reality, emotions, and life. “Find Me” is presented in a deceptively simple, straightforward style. Written in present tense by its protagonist, a young woman named Joy, often relying on facts and lists, she first exposes her attitude about her involuntary quarantine in a hospital, following an epidemic, which initally robs people of their memories, then their lives. She’s one of the few immune. But as the story unwinds, another, even more traumatic fact about her life appears. Abandoned as an infant, she’s lived in a series of foster homes, and the occurrences there left indelible marks that she accepts with equanimity. So we think. By the book’s end, we begin to question her view of reality and hopscotch back to previous scenes trying to dig out truth. In writing this device is called an “unreliable narrator.” It appears in books as diverse as “Alice in Wonderland,” “One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest,” “Lolita,” and “The Life of Pi.” In fiction, as in life, the unreliable narrator is a person telling the story who can't be trusted. Either from ignorance or self-interest, this narrator speaks with a bias, makes mistakes, or even lies. The truth is that we all are reliable to ourselves and unreliable to everyone else. So in the end, the unreliable narrator may very well be reliable as to what he believes. Who’s to say Joy in “Find Me” isn’t headed to a reunion with her mother? Spiritual faith abounds with this perspective. Various religions, the child who believes in the Tooth Fairy long past the age of baby teeth, the millions of women who place credence in a lover’s “I’ll be with you always. . . I’ll take care of you,’ the list is endless. These are our own perceptions of reality, and to us they are real. Does this mean we’re all wrong? We shouldn’t trust our instincts, perceptions and thoughts? Bow to the supremacy of science? No, for what’s considered “science” seems to change almost as quickly as our emotions. Albert Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” And "Find Me" seems to agree.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aboslutely the most boring book I have read in my life.
DeeDee05 More than 1 year ago
I really like the book and the voice of the author. However, I can't get it out of my mind that the twin boys in the book dig a hole on the 5th floor - and they are digging up dirt. They can't dig up dirt on the 5th floor of any building. That lapse won't let go and is holding me back from enjoying the rest of the book. The editor should be fired. That should have been caught.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How did this book greet published?  It needed serious editing,  believable characters, and a storyline/plotline  that could keep a reader's interest. Complete waste of time and money. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would not recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago