Candy House
by Egan, Jennifer






Told through lives of multiple characters, this electrifying, deeply moving novel, spanning 10 years, follows "Own Your Unconscious," a new technology that allows access to every memory you've ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for success to the memories of others. Simultaneous.





Jennifer Egan is the author of six previous books of fiction: Manhattan Beach, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald CityLook at Me, a National Book Award Finalist; and The Invisible Circus. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper's MagazineGrantaMcSweeney's, and The New York Times Magazine. Her website is JenniferEgan.com.





*Starred Review* At the center of this sibling novel to Egan's multi-award winning, genre-bending A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) is Bix Bouton, a minor character in the previous tale, now a tech guru who has developed Own Your Unconscious, a platform that allows people to access all of their memories and those of others. While many welcome this opportunity, some "eluders" seek to escape the unrelenting surveillance of every aspect of their lives. Drifting from the mid-1960s to the mid-2030s, this novel is a portrait of where we have been, where we are, and where we could be going. Its many-worlds, portal-like structure is influenced by video games, and as in Goon Squad, Egan experiments with many different forms, perspectives, and styles; one chapter consists of tweets, while another contains overlapping emails. Each presents us with characters who desire permanence in an unstable world, and many are on nebulous quests for authentic experience. Similar to Dave Eggers' The Circle (2013) and The Every (2021), this novel excoriates the desire of tech companies to quantify everything and warns about unthinkingly taking a bite from the seemingly free "candy house" offered by such companies. Haunting and often hilarious, this is a wondrous, riotously inventive work of speculative fiction that celebrates the power of the imagination in the face of technology that threatens to do our thinking for us.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The latest by Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal, is a top spring title with magnetic pull for Visit from the Goon Squad admirers and fans of smart, literary speculative fiction. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* At the center of this sibling novel to Egan's multi-award winning, genre-bending A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) is Bix Bouton, a minor character in the previous tale, now a tech guru who has developed Own Your Unconscious, a platform that allows people to access all of their memories and those of others. While many welcome this opportunity, some "eluders" seek to escape the unrelenting surveillance of every aspect of their lives. Drifting from the mid-1960s to the mid-2030s, this novel is a portrait of where we have been, where we are, and where we could be going. Its many-worlds, portal-like structure is influenced by video games, and as in Goon Squad, Egan experiments with many different forms, perspectives, and styles; one chapter consists of tweets, while another contains overlapping emails. Each presents us with characters who desire permanence in an unstable world, and many are on nebulous quests for authentic experience. Similar to Dave Eggers' The Circle (2013) and The Every (2021), this novel excoriates the desire of tech companies to quantify everything and warns about unthinkingly taking a bite from the seemingly free "candy house" offered by such companies. Haunting and often hilarious, this is a wondrous, riotously inventive work of speculative fiction that celebrates the power of the imagination in the face of technology that threatens to do our thinking for us.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The latest by Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal, is a top spring title with magnetic pull for Visit from the Goon Squad admirers and fans of smart, literary speculative fiction. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





Egan revisits some characters from A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010) and their children to continue her exploration of what fiction can be and do in the 21st century. As Manhattan Beach (2017) showed, Egan is perfectly capable of writing a satisfying traditional novel, but she really dazzles when she turns her formidable gifts to examining the changes to society and individuals wrought by the internet and social media. One of those instruments of change is Bix, an NYU classmate of Sasha in Goon Squad but here a vastly rich social media magnate who, in 2016, makes the next leap in the "Self-Surveillance Era" by creating, first, Own Your Unconscious, which allows people to externalize their consciousness on a cube, and then Collective Consciousness, which offers the option of "uploading all or part of your externalized memory to an online 'collective,' " thereby gaining access to "the anonymous thoughts and memories of everyone, living or dead, who had done the same." Egan explores the impact of this unnervingly plausible innovation with her habitual panache, ranging from her characters' pre-internet youths to the 2030s. While there are "eluders" like Bix's son, Gregory, who refuse to share their private thoughts with strangers, many are seduced by the convenience and power of this collective tool. The most stylistically audacious chapter shows us the scarily logical next step; it reproduces the instructions of a "weevil" implanted in the brain of Lulu, daughter of morally compromised Goon Squad publicist Dolly, now a spy married to "a visionary in the realm of national security." As she did in in Goon Squad's PowerPoint chapter, Egan doles out information in small bites that accumulate to demonstrate the novel's time-honored strengths: richly complicated characters and compelling narratives. The final chapter rolls back to 1991 to movingly affirm the limits of floods of undigested information and the ability of fiction, only fiction, to "roam with absolute freedom through the human collective." A thrilling, endlessly stimulating work that demands to be read and reread. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2022 Follett School Solutions