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How to Disappear

Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency

by Akiko Busch

Hardcover, 207 pages

"Vivid, surprising, and utterly timely, Akiko Busch's How to disappear explores the idea of invisibility in nature, art, and science, in search of a more joyful and peaceful way of living in today's increasingly surveilled and publicity-obsessed world Inour increasingly networked and image-saturated lives, the notion of disappearing has never been both more enchanting and yet fanciful. Today, we are relentlessly encouraged, even conditioned, to reveal, share, and self-promote. The pressure to be public comes not just from our peers, but vast and pervasive technology companies, which want to profit from patterns in our behavior. A lifelong student and observer of the natural world, Busch sets out to explore her own uneasiness with this arrangement, and what she senses is a widespread desire for a less scrutinized way of life—for invisibility. Writing in rich painterly detail about her own life, her family, and some of the world's most exotic and remote places—from the Cayman Islands to Iceland—she savors the pleasures of being unseen. Discovering and dramatizing a wonderful range of ways of disappearing, from virtual reality goggles that trick the wearer into believing her body has disappeared and to the way Virginia Woolf's fictional Mrs. Dalloway feels a flickering of personhood as an older woman, Busch deliberates on subjects new and old with equal sensitivity and incisiveness. A unique and exhilarating accomplishment, How to disappear is a shimmering collage of poetry, cinema, memoir, myth, and much more, which overturns the dangerous modern assumption that somehow fame and visibility equate to success and happiness"—