Descripción de editorial
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “More impressive than all but a few novels published so far this decade . . . a wheeling meditation on the wired life, on privacy, on what being human in the age of binary code might mean . . . [Joshua] Cohen, all of thirty-four, emerges as a major American writer.”—The New York Times
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VULTURE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Book of Numbers . . . is shatteringly powerful. I cannot think of anything by anyone in [Cohen’s] generation that is so frighteningly relevant and composed with such continuous eloquence. There are moments in it that seem to transcend our impasse.”—Harold Bloom
The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.
Insider tech exposé, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual.
Featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction, Book of Numbers is an epic of the digital age, a triumph of a new generation of writers, and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Praise for Book of Numbers
“The Great American Internet Novel is here. . . . Book of Numbers is a fascinating look at the dark heart of the Web. . . . A page-turner about life under the veil of digital surveillance . . . one of the best novels ever written about the Internet.”—Rolling Stone
“A startlingly talented novelist.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Remarkable . . . dazzling . . . Cohen’s literary gifts . . . suggest that something is possible, that something still might be done to safeguard whatever it is that makes us human.”—Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books
Like Pynchon's Bleeding Edge and Eggers's The Circle, Cohen's (Witz) latest is an ambitious and inspired attempt at the Great American Internet Novel. The narrator, Joshua Cohen, is a struggling writer whose debut effort was inauspiciously launched on Sept. 10, 2001. Deciding to "earn better money... at the expense of identity," he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of another Joshua Cohen, referred to as "Principal." Principal is the secretive founder of Tetration, a tech company that has developed a revolutionary search engine and seeks to "equalize ourselves with data and data with ourselves." Speaking to his ghostwriter in the first-person plural he leisurely relates the genesis and evolution of Tetration while sprinkling in a mixture of ominous epigrams ("All who read us are read"), mystical musings, and "techsperanto," the language of Silicon Valley. But Principal has another motive in sharing his story, one that forces his biographer to go into hiding, and offline, to complete his task. The novel maps the recent history of the Internet onto one of Western culture's oldest stories, the plague-filled wanderings of Moses and his fractious band of Israelites journeying toward the Promised Land. This allegorical element imposes just enough order on a saga as sprawling and unruly as the Web. A dense, thrilling, and occasionally perplexing work, Cohen's encyclopedic epic is about many things language, art, divinity, narrative, desire, global politics, surveillance, consumerism, genealogy but it is above all a standout novel about the Internet, humanity's "first mutual culture," in which our identities are increasingly defined by a series of ones and zeroes.