You are checking into your hotel in Casablanca when your backpack containing your passport, your laptop, credit cards, and ID is stolen. You have to assist the hotel’s hapless security team to access footage of the theft. The following day at the police station, you are presented with another woman’s backpack with picture ID that doesn’t resemble you, but sleeplessness or a state caused by the reason you are here in the first place prevent you from protesting. You accept the other woman’s backpack. It is the first of several identities you will assume over the next few weeks as you become a movie stand-in for a famous American actress, attend a Patti Smith concert, and become two people on a bus tour.
The title of Vendela Vida’s novel, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is from a Rumi poem about the non-duality of existence, the idea that we are at once the illusion of ourselves and also a part of everything in the universe. It is also a a book that you will speed through because it’s very hard to put down, but it will stay with you long after you turn the last page.