When journalist ‘MS’ interviews the mysterious ‘XX’ for a job at her magazine, she hires him straight away—because he’s gorgeous. As one date leads to another, her obsession spirals. MS finds herself writing letters to Facebook (to see if XX can tell how many times she views his page), to her phone company (can they delete messages she regrets sending?) and to XX’s favorite author (who is dead), while the object of her affection remains aloof, a moodily seductive Vespa-riding urbanite. With full access to MS’s photos, diary extracts and emails, this novel documents MS and XX’s relationship from jubilant start to painful finish, and lays out her life—and past—for our scrutiny. Highly original, extremely funny, and darkly moving, this is an unputdownable glimpse into the depths of one woman’s psyche.
My first library book in donkey’s years, I picked up “All this Has Nothing to Do with Me” because it sounded intriguing. Stylist Magazine is even quoted on the cover to say that this book was set to be one of the coolest of the year. I’m not sure this is true as it’s been out for a couple of years and I’ve certainly not heard anyone talking about it but I was interested to see whether the claim had any truth.
Translated from French, this book tells the story of the relationship of the author MS and mystery man XX through a number of different means; letters, notes, diary extracts, emails, pictures and even dictionary entries. I’ve never read something without a clear narrative before and was drawn in from the start.
After interviewing XX, MS instantly has a crush on him. She soon becomes obsessed, recording her feelings, photos and experiences over several months.
This book is short, at 160 pages I easily completed this on one day’s commute, yet it’s packed with a lot of emotion and it’s clear that the author has really poured everything into putting this together. However what she has put together is odd, a strange mix of fragments. It’s full of real life pictures and texts and the book feels personal yet the story seems incomplete.
To really enjoy this book I feel that I need more as a reader; more pages, more of a narrative, more character building and more cohesion.
Overall rating: A fast paced story of mixed media, “All this Has Nothing to Do with Me” is a peculiar story of love and obsession. Lacking a traditional narrative, this book is intriguing but won’t be to everyone’s taste. I liked the story and I enjoyed reading something different, but unfortunately I felt that something was missing. Monica Sabolo‘s story gets 3 stars from me.