by: Jennifer Egan
It’s 2010. Staggeringly successful and brilliant tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton is desperate for a new idea. He’s forty, with four kids, and restless when he stumbles into a conversation with mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, Own Your Unconscious—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.
In spellbinding linked narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter, and a chapter of tweets. In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House.
Intellectually dazzling and extraordinarily moving, The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away. With a focus on social media, gaming, and alternate worlds, you can almost experience moving among dimensions in a role-playing game. Egan delivers a fierce and exhilarating testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓3/4
Do you ever feel like you can’t retain what you read? I have never felt it more than with this book- tried hard to grasp this story- very disjointed and puzzle-like. It was difficult, but readable. I read the predecessor, A Visit From the Goon Squad ,about 10 years ago but didn’t really remember it. I felt like I completed a marathon when I finished this book.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓3/4
Although futuristic and a little technologically over my head, I really liked this book. My favorite part was discovering how the characters all intertwined – fascinating. And I also enjoyed the section written as an instructional manual for spies as well as the section written in email correspondence. Jennifer Egan is a smart, creative and witty writer.