You Exist Too Much: A Novel

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The unnamed young woman who narrates You Exist Too Much craves love and attention, bouncing from one intense relationship to another while simultaneously welcoming other lovers and infatuations. She accepts her bisexuality but meets with rage and disapproval when she attempts to come out to her mother, an angry, mercurial Palestinian whom the narrator both pushes away and yearns for. The narrator’s life is lived in both the United States and the Middle East, and the cultural and geographical dislocation she often feels plays out in the landscape of her romantic relationships. Intent on controlling what she can, she battles an eating disorder and mental illness, and she ultimately finds hope in an unlikely place: a treatment center called The Ledge. As a patient, the narrator wrestles with her diagnosis of “love addiction” and tries to define the undefinable: what she wants, who she is, and who she desires to be.

You Exist Too Much is a raw and unsettling exploration of a young girl’s shifting foundations. Arafat’s sure hand draws readers across time periods and places, weaving the narrator’s past formative experiences with her present-day choices and questions. The narrator is heartbreaking in her precarious teetering between extreme self-awareness and naivete, but Arafat steers clear of easy answers and pat solutions. The narrator may know best: life is messy, love is messier, and finding one’s place in the world may just be an impossible dream.


Reviewed By:

Author Zaina Arafat
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 263 pages
Publisher Catapult
Publish Date 2020-06-09
ISBN 9781948226509
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2020
Category Popular Fiction
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