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The Lip of the Grave: On “Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett.

Imagine Me Gone, Adam Haslett’s second novel, achieves something difficult: it manages to dramatize depression and mental illness without being tiresome, fatuous, or boring.

The novel opens in the mind of John, an Englishman who suffers from the something he calls the “monster.” When John had been hospitalized for depression, Margaret, his American girlfriend at the time, decided to stay with him. They married, and had three children: Celia, Michael and Alec. While the kids’ interweaving life stories—dealing with their father’s eventual suicide—make up the bulk of Imagine Me Gone, the true focus is on Michael, who replays his father’s tragic illness in a different key.

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