You Are Not You by Simon Rosenburg

Sam, who has been in therapy for years, is looking to forge a new relationship and a new life. His ex-wife died of cancer and his life fell apart. Roberta, his psychologist, helped him to find a new grasp on life.

But now he has met Nina and Roberta doesn’t seem happy for him.

Sam recognises absences, parts of his days and nights that slip from his consciousness. He starts to wonder if Roberta isn’t helping him heal but is instead using their sessions to implant onto him, gaining control of his mind and his body. Just how dangerous is she? And will Nina believe him?

His concept of Roberta is certainly a frightening one. The stuffed crow that sits above her client’s chair in the therapy room suggests satanic ritual. The imagined ring of sleeping followers wandering uninvited into people’s homes and lives, forging a life for others that is entirely manufactured and outside of their control, is creepy in the extreme. Still, things felt too loose, too ethereal to restrict my breathing and send me into a state of fear, to truly challenge my believe in the certainty of my world.

There is a lot to admire in You Are Not You. It navigates the difficult territory between the inside and outside of the mind, between dream and reality; how the mind constantly interprets reality to suit its own beliefs and desires. These are some pleasing and enticing concepts and it was the contemplation of the slippage between real and surreal that held me to the story and kept me pushing on to the narrative conclusion. However, regardless of this drive to uncover a resolution, something didn’t quite work for me.

This won’t be the case for everyone. There will be loads of readers who will love this book. There is sex, violence, psychological suggestion, and a whole heap of uncertainty about the things in life that we take for granted as being real and solid. If this sounds like your kind of book, You Are Not You won’t disappoint.

 

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