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Emily Gould writes:
The Server is the first novel of Parks’s post-Vipassana period. Young Beth Marriot has come to the Dasgupta Institute in rural England as a student and stayed on as a volunteer, cleaning and cooking and meditating, and avoiding her life. We see the institute through Beth’s rambling stream of hyper-consciousness, and in the same way learn bits and pieces about whatever she is running away from. Gradually, a picture emerges from the fragments: Beth was a singer whose sweet, insipid boyfriend was a member of her band. Pregnant by an older, caddish lover, she semi-suicidally took a swim in rough ocean waters and ended up in a coma. The circumstances of her accident, which might have killed the companion who tried to save her, emerge gradually as Beth moves through the routines of the institute, trying to clear her mind and avoid remembering.