Her life does not take place in the real world anymore, everything that is important happens online, on the portal. She travels from place to be to place to be not really caring about where she is but only about what she can make of this experience in her virtual bubble. Her followers are not only her supporters but also her way to escape from those real problems which are looming over mankind. She has gone further than others, than the dictator who took over the country in 2016 and rules via the platform, she has her only language and her own style which is post-ironic and at the same time post-sense. Reading her own feed from just a couple of months ago, she is unable to understand herself. Suddenly, however, reality catches her and another universe with completely different values and rules opens up.
Patricia Lockwood has been praised for her poetry, “No One Is Talking About This” is her debut novel which I’d call rather experimental in its quite unique style. The book is broken in two parts, the first dealing with the unnamed narrator’s virtual life, the second when she has to come down to earth and face problems of the real world.
The narrator feels detached from her body which has become a mere shell and only serves as a projection screen for her online self. She is aware of the number of her followers and deduces her importance from it. Today’s influencers are so far form reality that the protagonist does not seem to be exaggerated since they all are so over the top that they have lost all credibility and humanness. Lockwood cleverly reveals online mechanisms we all have already fallen prey to: looking up something, digging deeper, roaming from one website to the next, from one forum to another, just to end up in a kind of conspiracy bubble.
“One day it would all make sense! One day it would all make sense – like Watergate, about which she knew noting and also did not care. Something about a hotel.”
Yes, she is totally superficial and stupid and cannot survive a single day without her cell phone. It needs a major blast to take her back into something like a real life. And quite unexpectedly, her values shift, her focus moves from her fictional online self to real humans.
It’s the novel of the moment, reminding us that there is more than the next tweet or Instagram post. The protagonist is wonderfully created and showing her ability to open her eyes and change perspective also provides some hope in those chaotic times.