“Distortion is part of desire. We always change the things we want”
This little book should come with a warning – sleep deprivation guaranteed. It could have you reading late into the night… I discovered it on a display of debut novels at my library. I have been looking out for “What I loved” for a while now so recognised the author and thought I would give it a try. I was already reading two other books but after reading the first few pages, that was it..
Iris Vegan is a 22 year old student, living alone in a small apartment in New York trying to make ends meet. Through a series of encounters/brief relationships over a period of months she finds her sense of self and personal boundaries challenged, and her social, physical and mental states slipping out of her control. At the forefront of her thoughts is the relationship she had with a fellow student Stephen who we learn at the beginning of the story has left her and who she thinks of continuously afterwards. Each separate chapter deals with each of these encounters which are mostly with men. These people are able to manipulate Iris into behaving in ways which she knows are a stretch for her but she also finds exciting and vaguely erotic.
The encounters are not told in chronologial order but do tie in together nearer the end – this just adds to the odd feel of it all. The first person narrative is straightforward, very easy to read but the subject matter which overall is about a young woman’s attempt to keep a grip on her own reality is quite intense. There are aspects of this story that I think many women would be able to relate to.
Very well done.