The End of Absence Book Review

Author: Michael Harris
Book Link

After reading Solitude, I decided to go back and read this earlier work from Harris. If I wasn’t a fan the first time around (which I am), this book sealed the deal.

Harris takes an exploration into the world we are moving towards, where a generation will have no idea what it’s like to be disconnected. There is still a gap where some of us will know life before and after the Internet, which is a huge issue I still wrestle with… especially as a teacher and seeing the ubiquity of technology in the classroom.

This book is for anyone looking for sympathy as they sit at a table with others and watch helplessly as they stayed glued to their phones. It’s also for those who get tired of taking second place to a conversation with a person because they keep turning their attention away from you. It’s for people who feel frustrated and helpless to do anything because they know it’s not going to change.

The biggest geek-out in the book was his meeting with Douglas Coupland, who still remains a favourite author of mine. To hear Coupland’s words about never wanting to go back, and I understand the reasoning, was a seal of the times we’ve entered.

While I work through my own digital sabbatical, albeit not quite as extreme as the one Harris took in this book (which I also felt dragged a bit), it’s created room for reflection in my own life with my relationship to technology. I’m just happy there’s someone else out there who is struggling with the same questions as myself.