Book Review: Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic

by Olivia Sudjic

Publication date: April 26th 2018
Publisher: ONE (first published April 4th 2017)
Pages: 416


An electrifying novel of blood ties, online identities, and our tormented efforts to connect in the digital age.

At twenty-three, Alice Hare leaves England for New York. She falls in love with Manhattan, and becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, an intriguing Japanese writer whose life has strange parallels to her own.

As Alice closes in on Mizuko, her ‘internet twin’, realities multiply and fact and fiction begin to blur. The relationship between the two women exposes a tangle of lies and sexual encounters. Three families collide as Alice learns that the swiftest answer to an ancient question – where do we come from? – can now be found online.

Source: Goodreads


“Sympathy” was the October book from the Reading in Heels book box. 
I hadn’t actually heard of this book or author before, but after doing a a bit of research into it, I thought that this book was going to be right up my street. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I found this book really boring. The blurb tells you that Alice Hare moves from England to New York and becomes fixated on Mizuko Humura, a Japanese writer, but I’m not sure that that’s really what happens here. The pages seem to be filled with nothing but overly wordy descriptions and plot points that didn’t add anything that could keep my attention. I feel like I’ve been reading this book forever and am so glad to have put it down for the last time.

Our leading lady Alice isn’t very likable in this book and she doesn’t really have any personality to speak of. I’ve read 400 pages about her and I still don’t know what to make of her. The people around Alice aren’t that thrilling either and switching between times and locations make things a bit too confusing when you don’t care for any of them, let alone know their names.

“Suddenly I had to laugh. It was like realising you definitely need to projectile vomit when you thought you had it under control in some imprisoning form of public space.” 

Said to look at the dark side and dangers of social media, I truly didn’t feel that this was a major plot point whatsoever and I don’t know why it’s made such a big deal of in the book’s summary. More focused on the topics of family, adoption and caring for your elders, I feel like this book is miss-sold and meant for a different kind of audience.

Overall rating: “Sympathy” was not for me. It’s 1 star for a book that I just didn’t enjoy and didn’t really understand. I feel somewhat cheated as I’m not really sure that I’ve read the book that’s described on the cover, but rather something a lot duller and certainly not my cup of tea.

One thought on “Book Review: Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic

  1. […] I hadn’t actually heard of “Sympathy” before, but having done a bit of research into it, this book sounds right up my street. Alice Hare moves from England to New York and becomes fixated on Mizuko Humura, a Japanese writer. This book landing on my door step kind of feels like fate as I’ve just gained a slight obsession for Japanese writer Yōko Ogawa (Revenge, Hotel Iris), although I suspect that Alice’s obsession may be a little more dangerous that my own… (update: see my review here.) […]


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