Latest Review: "We're Not Here to Disappear" by Olivia Rosenthal

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Megan C. Ferguson on We’re Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal, translated by Béatrice Mousli and published by Otis/Seismicity Editions.

The books we get from Otis/Seismicity are always this beautiful matte black, with a simple title heading and author listing. Each book like this that comes in the mail seems myseterious: simultaneously wary-making, but comforting. I’ve picked up one myself now and then, and like what Seismicity is doing, visually as well as with the written word. In the case of Rosenthal’s We’re Not Here, I had actually started reading the book when Megan asked to review it—so I’m happy to see her impressions on a book that, only a few pages in, already felt like it was going to be something great.

Here’s part of Megan’s review:

Rosenthal’s novel is part history, part investigation, and written like stream-of-consciousness poetry. I like that from the beginning she refers to Monsieur T.’s diagnosis as “A.’s disease,” a term that brings the focus to his experiences and conditions, rather than focusing the reader on their preconceived idea of Alzheimer’s.
This is a novel which requires reader involvement. If you are like me, you may end up reading this in small pieces in order to better digest it. I found that although it’s a compact book, the ideas represented are much larger. This novel rewards the thought and energy the reader gives to it.

Rosenthal drifts between narrators and narratives. The (his)story of Dr. Alois Alzheimer (whose name is eventually given to the degenerative disease) is interspersed with observations from Monsieur T., his wife, his daughter, and his doctor. Does the narrative history of Dr. Alzheimer provide the reader insight into Monsieur T.’s symptoms? It at least provides the reader insight into the “discovery” and naming of the disease whose key attribute is forgetting.

For the rest of the review, go here.


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