‘Sympathy will double-click your heart’ – Vanity Fair
Olivia Sudjic’s incredible debut Sympathy is out today. An electrifying novel of blood ties, online identities, and our tormented efforts to connect in the digital age, it’s been the subject of rave reviews in VICE, Elle, Vogue, Esquire and many others.
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.
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Read the first chapter now.
I wasn’t with her when the fever started. I didn’t even know she was sick. I’d known nearly everything about her until then, and could have recalled the smallest detail of any given day, whether she’d spent it with me or not. For months her presence, and telepresence, had given shape to my new life in New York. Now, with the stroke of a finger, it had gone.
Unfollow. Intended as a symbolic gesture only, a symbolic fuck you, assuming that I’d still have a level of public access. I’d observed her this way long before we met, but it appeared that her privacy had been altered since then. Very recently, I guessed. I was alarmed by her inhibition or what it meant she had to hide. Before, anyone could find her. Just by typing her name they would get an instant synopsis of her life: the neat grid of her pictures, captioned with her thoughts and feelings, tagged with a location and timestamped. Anyone could track her progress through the city, or slip backwards into her past, to her vacations and graduations. I can’t have been the only one who’d done it so successfully. But now I was locked out. A white wall had de- scended, blank except for a padlock symbol.