- “Nervous System burns in the mind long after one has read it, not unlike the ghosts who circumnavigate our psyches, and the winding corridors of history, to hammer us on the head with the raw truth that time is not linear. The distance between the deep past and the present, Meruane shows, is much shorter than we might be inclined to think.”—The New York Times Book Review
As Ella’s anxiety grows, the past begins to exert a strong gravitational pull, and other members of her family come into focus: the widowed Father, the Stepmother, the Twins, and the Firstborn. Each of them has their own experience of illness and violence, and eventually the systems that both hold them together and atomize them are exposed.
In this extraordinary clinical biography of a family, full of affection and resentment, dark humor and buried secrets, illness describes the traumas that can be visited not just upon the body, but on families and on the history of the countries—present and past—that we live in.
Nona Fernandéz and Lina Meruane appearing virtually at The Center for Fiction
Nona Fernández and Lina Meruane in conversation virtually at the Center for Fiction. Interpreted by Natasha Wimmer.
- “Razor-sharp. . . . On a sentence level [Nervous System is] unimpeachable.”—Publishers Weekly
- “Nervous System is a novel both fanciful and visceral, pairing the study of the cosmos with medical mysteries and wounds on earth.”—Shelf Awareness
- “A postmodern meditation on how illness and loss forge connections . . . A complex, melancholy tale of a woman on the brink.”—Kirkus Reviews
- “This is an absolutely fantastic novel. From black holes to mass graves, undiagnosable diseases and (perhaps most terrifying of all) a PhD that hasn’t been written, Nervous System is frank, brave, and unsparing. The precision of Meruane’s sentences will cut through you like a scalpel.”—Julianne Pachico