When You Read This: A Novel

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Iris Massey is unmarried, with no children, and when she dies, the person she entrusts with her legacy is Smith Simonyi, her boss at the PR firm where she works. Smith finds a hard copy of a blog Iris had written about having cancer and facing death at a young age, and he wants to honor her wish to have it published. Iris’s sister, Jade, vocally opposes publication and is initially hostile to both the project and Smith himself. But as Jade and Smith hash out their differences over email, they find common ground and, unexpectedly, a close friendship. Facing the possibility that this was what Iris intended all along, they confront their grief and try to find a way to move forward in their lives, without Iris.

The story of Iris, Jade, Smith, and the eccentric figures who populate their world is told through emails, instant messages, blog posts, apartment listings, automated email replies, and other missives of our digital world. Adkins creates a rich, moving, and often very funny narrative from these bits of electronic life. Along with the question of how to best honor those we love, this novel suggests that the pieces of ourselves that we send into the ether aren’t inconsequential in the least. These communications are a substantial representation of our very selves, and we can measure the movement and impact of our lives by the words we leave in our wakes.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2019-02-05
ISBN 9780062834676
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Modern Literature


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