Social media. It seems that you can’t live without some form of it these days. But in crafting all these online profiles as extensions of your personality, what does this mean for your online legacy after you die? Still Here by Lara Vapnyar depicts a story of a group of people who are related to the development of an app to help maintain your online presence after you’re gone.
Vica, her husband Sergey, and their friends Vadik and Regina are all Russians who have moved to the United States to pursue the “American life,” in whatever format it manifests as for them. After years of working in business and neglecting his linguistics background, Sergey has an idea for an app, which he lovingly refers to as Virtual Grave, to keep your online profiles “alive” after you die through a program that analyzes your linguistics to keep posting comments as you. In Sergey’s attempt to pitch the idea to Regina’s business-savvy, American husband Bob, he finds that his idea sparks much debate among his friends about death and the fate of our future selves, virtual and real.
The premise of the novel was intriguing and the writing was well done, yet in its execution, I felt that it was lacking. The absence of a deeper exploration of the four primary characters made it difficult to connect because as soon as you were establishing any sort of bond with one character, the narration shifted to the next character, setting you back to reorienting yourself. That said, the aspects of the characters that were presented felt honest, as they were able to acknowledge both their shortcomings and strengths as a person. Although I received an ARC of this title and expected to have some grammatical issues present, there was hardly a page that wasn’t in desperate need of basic editing, which makes me a bit worried about what quality will be there on publication day.
Overall, I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.