Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes it is noble to sleep in the crawlspace of your desk
This highly intelligent and devastatingly satirical tale of an IT geek trying to make it in America hovers on the edge of greatness and is certainly one of the funniest things I've read for a while. I found myself slowing my reading down, not wanting the book to end, so caught up was I in the dilemmas of 23 year old Arjun Mehta who finds his first assignment as an...
Published 15 months ago by Eileen Shaw

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A confident novel with refreshingly little technobabble
Arjun, a naive young Indian thinks he has achieved the American Dream. He lands a job in the US, but finds he's in a computing sweatshop. Eventually he breaks out to get his own job at an antiviral software company who then make him redundant. He unleashes a virus in revenge, planning to come up with the solution and get his job back, but its transmitted worldwide and...
Published on 10 Dec. 2008 by Annabel Gaskell


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes it is noble to sleep in the crawlspace of your desk, 21 Jan. 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transmission (Paperback)
This highly intelligent and devastatingly satirical tale of an IT geek trying to make it in America hovers on the edge of greatness and is certainly one of the funniest things I've read for a while. I found myself slowing my reading down, not wanting the book to end, so caught up was I in the dilemmas of 23 year old Arjun Mehta who finds his first assignment as an assistant tester in Berry Acres, Washington, which appears to come complete with a girlfriend in Chris, even though she is not exactly his girlfriend as she lives with Nic in a loosely based ménage that offers considerable freedom: "... for Arjun an American life. It had come boxed and shrink-wrapped, thanks to the final interview, the one after which he knew he would snap, would not stay to breathe another lungful of hydrocarbon-laced valley air..."

Then disaster strikes in the form of the last in-first out rule of employment. Arjun releases a devastating virus in the form of Leela01, thinking that he will retain his job by fixing the problem, but Guy Swift steals the glory from under his nose, and in despair Arjun replicates the virus, which announces itself with a shot from his favourite bollywood star, the young, fresh and beautiful, Leela Zahir dancing, and leaves it to generate complete mayhem. Globalisation does the rest.

When Guy Swift, Chief of the `Ghostbusters', as the cogniscenti colourfully dub themselves, forms his own company: Tomorrow* and sets out to pitch to various organisations we get a hilarious take on the hollow positivity of business language and also learn that Swift's girlfriend Gaby, is contemplating a change in their relationship. She has been asked to chaperone the Bollywood star, Leela Zahir, who is on location in Scotland when the virus begins to cause global meltdown in corporate America, and soon the world. By now, though, Arjun is on the run.

Totally enjoyable and wickedly satirical, this is a blockbuster of a novel, commenting on the arid business of making a success in America. Kunzru's characterisations are marvellous, The plotting is energetic, fun and smart. I loved this book. It is a scintillating take on the power of the internet to destroy our new-found faith in the machines that are supposed to improve and enrich our lives. For now, maybe, but who knows?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable, and very funny in places, 2 Mar. 2007
By 
hillbank68 "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Transmission (Paperback)
I've read the other Amazon reviews - this is clearly a book you like or you don't! I did. It is a light novel, deliberately over-the-top but with plenty of truth about the cyberworld of spin in which we live now. It's really a satire with elements of farce in places, and it seems to me a mistake to judge it in terms of depth of characterisation and integrity of plot - I really don't think that is what the book is about. Arjun Mehta, an overearnest, anxious, naive computer geek, is shafted more than once by his masters in the US. To impress them and win their approval (he is about to be sacked), he releases 'Leela', a virus featuring images of his favourite Bollywood star, Leela Zahir. All sorts of things happen as a result, almost too many to keep track of, and it all ends mysteriously but happily. There are wonderful set-piece scenes, though - Guy Swift attempting to make a sales pitch on a Dubai golf course (he doesn't play golf), Arjun at Virugenix (his workplace), spin sessions at Tomorrow* (Swift's appalling company), highly entertaining attempts to film a Bollywood scene at a castle in Skye, a most diverting use of language and many, many good jokes. I laughed out loud quite often, and I'm grateful to any book that can make me do that. I thought this one was witty, quite virtuosic in the writing and, in a light-hearted way, involving - and great fun.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A confident novel with refreshingly little technobabble, 10 Dec. 2008
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Transmission (Paperback)
Arjun, a naive young Indian thinks he has achieved the American Dream. He lands a job in the US, but finds he's in a computing sweatshop. Eventually he breaks out to get his own job at an antiviral software company who then make him redundant. He unleashes a virus in revenge, planning to come up with the solution and get his job back, but its transmitted worldwide and everything goes horribly wrong.

Interspersed with the main plot and taking over most of the second half of the novel, we hear about Guy Swift, a brand marketer who owns a start-up company with no clients and dwindling funding; and Leela Zahir, a Bollywood starlet - adored by Arjun, who makes her the face of his virus - which cripples Guy's plans at the worst possible time.

Arjun, and to a certain extent Leela, appear to be realistic characters, you can't help but sympathise with Arjun, even if you can't condone what he did. As for Guy, well he was a caricature of the young marketing man who lives and talks jargon, an empty shell fuelled by coke, with a trophy girlfriend and show-off apartment. I didn't like him at all - but then you're not meant to, and didn't care whether he sank or swam.

I'd have liked to have read more about Arjun, particularly after he went on the run, but the author cuts the story off in its prime after 268 pages, inserting a 25 page coda like the credits at the end of the movie Animal House which tells you what all the silly students went on to do. It would have been a much longer book without this device ...

I enjoyed the novel and I like Kunzru's style and confidence in writing about the technology without much technobabble, but given that the world is changing so fast, (it was first published in 2004), believe that it will date soon. Read it now while it's of its time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really satisfying read., 5 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Transmission (Paperback)
What a great book! I just finished it and though I have been compulsively drawn to it over the past few days I am now sorry the ride is over - so, to prolong my contact with Kunzru's world a little longer - I thought I'd write a quick review. This is a funny, intelligent and original tale. The plot keeps you involved to the last sentence and all the loose ends are satisfyingly tied up. The characters are well-drawn, authentic and they and the book as a whole carry various messages about the craziness of our modern, technology dependent world, corporate culture and first world excess. But although profound and intelligent this is not a weighty read. The reader is borne along by the funny twists of fate involving the characters and although Kunzru's acute, critical eye is cast upon all things and all men throughout, he is also compassionate and undestands the need of the the reader for a good old fashioned happy ending. I shall say no more - read it yourself and discover. A book like this makes me realise what a lot of rubbish I have read recently and what a pleasure to discover a new (to me) writer to follow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coke and Bull, 18 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Transmission (Hardcover)
Hari Kunzru's first novel The Impressionist was a massive achievement, though it failed to win the popular acclaim of word-of-mouth successes like Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Birdsong probably through the lack of empathetic characters. Nonetheless his publishers have chosen to build on that historical exotic base, giving his new novel Transmission a sort of Heritage Ethni-Lit cover. This is wildly inappropriate as the book is about the genesis of a computer virus and is a thoroughly modern and mostly Western confection.
With Kunzru the genius is in the detail, and he has a flourished knack of producing fleeting characters with a real sense of identity to them. In The Impressionist, this was balanced by the deliberate act of not giving the protagonist any character of his own. Here he goes one better, and gives us a fully joined-up hero in Arjun Mehta, who at 23 leaves his Indian family to work in the technology sector in Silicon Valley. Though 'hero' is not the right word, since Mehta is diffident, nervous and disappointed for most of the time. He comes to realise that the promises of riches as a code-jockey were horribly misleading, and as the market for his services shrinks, he finds himself facing redundancy and in a desperate attempt to save his job, unleashes a computer virus, Leela01, on the world, so that he can impress his employers by being the first to fix it.
By this halfway point, the novel is a rich dish, brimming with good things and endlessly lively and sardonic - Kunzru adopts a keen omniscient voice, seeing into his characters' minds but also standing back and slyly mocking them. The difficulty is that once the virus is released - and markets fall, worlds collide, and lifts stop going to the thirteenth floor - there is nowhere left for the novel to go. Kunzru does his best by bringing in - and in fact foreshadowing their appearances earlier in the book - complementary characters: Leela Zahir, the Bollywood actress whose digitised image tempts careless geeks into opening the viral attachment; and Guy Swift, a marketing man full of coke and bull, whose knife-edge finances may or may not (spoiler alert: not) be tipped over by the Leela virus.
Unfortunately these characters always feel secondary, despite Kunzru's best efforts to make them part of a tense triptych with Arjun Mehta. Guy Swift could have been a satiric monster like Patrick Bateman or John Self but ends up a low-key version of Sherman McCoy; and Leela Zahir rarely appears in the book except through reference. Their scenes too suffer from insupportable attentuation: when Guy is pitching to his PR clients, one can't help feeling that a little mangement-speak satire goes a long way; and the scenes on Leela's film set seem bland and full of tacked-on things (underworld gangs, futile sex) in comparison with the brilliant three-page summary of Bollywood films which Kunzru has put in Mehta's mind earlier in the book, full of vigour, colour and affection.
Finally Transmission fails at the last hurdle, when Kunzru leaves things hanging and then attempts to wrap them up in a twenty-page coda. This has all the feel of work to a deadline when it seems that he - and surely the reader - would have preferred to finish the story properly, in the richness of detail and fine prose which is Kunzru's considerable strength, perhaps taking a hundred or more pages over it, and not in this damp fizzle of signal to noise.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, fun and dazzlingly well-written, 18 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Transmission (Hardcover)
Despite structural shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed Hari Kunzru's second novel 'Transmission' that is fast-paced, fun and dazzlingly well-written. The opening sections of the novel - which introduce computer geek Arjun Mehta and the interesting characters in his family, particularly increasingly Australianised sister, Priti - had me hooked from the outset. It is a testament to Kunzru's writing that I remained totally engrossed by subjects such as computer programming and marketing that would not ordinarily interest me.
There are at least three different ways to analyse the novel's structure. Whilst reading the novel, 'Transmission' appeared to be primarily about Arjun, his experiences as a non-resident in America and his unleashing of the Leela virus to strike back at his company (and the global system generally?) in order that he could become better appreciated and recognised by fixing the ensuing havoc. The main sub-plot revolves around brash English marketing guru Guy Swift whose only nexus with Arjun is that his business ventures are disrupted by Arjun's Leela virus. As the novel progresses, Kunzru becomes increasingly interested in Swift's private and business life to the extent that this plotline is arguably elevated to central stage on equal terms with that involving Arjun. To further complicate matters, the real-life Leela Zahir - whose animated, dancing image is displaced by opening files corrupted by the Leela virus - herself becomes a major character in the second half of this novel, albeit one with less dialogue than either Arjun or Guy.
Despite its light tone and readability, 'Transmission' does raise issues such as globalisation, particularly as it affects those marginalised by the global economy; (instant) fame, privacy and media intrusion, and the all-pervasiveness of American values and concepts in fields such as international marketing, business and computing. Given my enjoyment of this follow-up work, I certainly look forward to reading Kunzru's critically acclaimed debut 'The Impressionists'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale about a computer virus, 8 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Transmission (Kindle Edition)
Transmission tells the story of Arjun Mehta, an expert computer programmer who heads to America for the promise of a programming job and a better life. However, things don't turn out the way he was hoping, and so ultimately he ends up creating the most disruptive computer virus the world has ever seen. Transmission contains a lot of narrative and not as much dialogue as I prefer, but the story still had me intrigued and I enjoyed reading the developments unfold. Without giving the plot away too much, the ending wasn't the type of conclusion I usually go for, as it leaves the reader with a few unanswered questions, but in this instance I could understand why Hari Kunzru chose to round things off the way he did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A real world fantasy or prophecy?, 19 Sept. 2014
By 
C. J. Peat (Middle England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Transmission (Kindle Edition)
A very well written engaging story with a number of topical themes.

Our dependency upon the digital world working as it should, the exploitation of well educated Indian people trying to integrate into the "New World", obsessions of various kinds and the discovery of alternative life values. The characters are drawn from careful observation mixed in with a big pinch of pastiche.

Good fun and interesting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable jaunt through the modern world..., 15 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Transmission (Paperback)
Kunzru writes in an enjoyable and dynamic style, which is entirely readable and often remarkably fresh. He takes the reader on a journey through the spaces of the modern world: first class airplane cabins, internet chatrooms, motels, hotels, bedrooms, cars... It is a book very well planted in the reality of what it is to live within the internet culture; a global network of people sitting alone in rooms.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven follow-up, 2 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Transmission (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this book - I really enjoyed Kunzru's very accomplished debut novel and the idea of exploring the dramatic potential of computer viruses is a very interesting one. Transmission is extremely good in parts but the novel as a whole is unsteady. I think he has succumbed to trying to manage too many locations and characters and consequently the novel as a whole becomes shaky. It's still worth reading, but it just is not quite engaging enough. It's a shame as there are some lovely moments. I agree with the reviewer who comments about the packaging which leads you to expect a more lyrical, misty novel than this which is full of spiky edges. I know it's a cliche, but Transmission does feel a bit of a victim of 2nd novel syndrome. I hope that the publishing industry is kind enough to Kunzru to forgive him this book and give him space to grow, because he has the scope to become a really good novelist indeed. Next time maybe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Transmission
Transmission by Hari Kunzru (Paperback - 30 Jun. 2005)
£8.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews