Cleaning up her father’s home after his death, Gwenaëlle Aubry discovered a handwritten, autobiographical manuscript with a note on the cover: “to novelize.” The title was The Melancholic Black Sheep, but the subtitle, An Inconvenient Specter, had been crossed out. The specter? Her father’s disabling bipolar disorder. Aubry had long known that she wanted to write about her father; his death, and his words, gave her the opportunity to explain his many absences — even while he was physically present — and to sculpt her memory of him. No One is a fictional memoir in dictionary form that investigates the many men behind the masks, and a unified portrait evolves. "A" describes her father’s adopted persona as Antonin Artaud, the poet/playwright; "B" is for James Bond; and, finally, "Z" is for Zelig, the Woody Allen character who could transform his appearance to that of the people around him. Letter by letter, Aubry gives shape and meaning to the father who had long disappeared from her view.
The whole is a beautifully written, vivid exploration of a particular experience of mental illness and what it can reveal more generally about human experience.