Book Review of Not a Place on Any Map by Alexis Paige
- Book: Not a Place on Any Map
- Location: United States (USA)
- Author: Alexis Paige
Review by Margot Harrison of SEVEN DAYS VERMONT:
As its title indicates, Not a Place is about mobility, in both space and time, and its discontents — about arriving and departing, belonging and not belonging, and about charting the “places” we can’t escape because they live within us. Chief among those virtual places is addiction: “You can’t remember how you got lost, the details,” Paige writes in “An Alternative or Supplemental History.” “How you got there, to that liminal no-place between the dead and the living. Off the map.
Before Paige landed in “no-place” — and found her way out — she was already a seasoned traveler. The collection opens with the four-page “An Autobiography of Arrivals,” a life story told in five present-tense vignettes, each named for a compass point. In the first, the author is 6, and her single mother is moving the family west for unspecified reasons: “We are on the run from some apprehension of Mom’s, and therefore our own.”
In the second and third vignettes, the narrator is a few years older, traveling between her parents’ homes in Texas and New England. In the fourth, she’s in her early twenties, “without history” in San Francisco. And in the fifth, our adult narrator has settled in Vermont, where “flight still flutters through me,” Paige writes.