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Gnomon Hardcover – 2 Nov 2017

3.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (2 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785151274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785151279
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Gnomon is an extraordinary novel, and one I can’t stop thinking about some weeks after I read it. It is deeply troubling, magnificently strange, and an exhilarating read." (Emily St. John Mandel, author of 'Station Eleven')

"The best thing he’s ever written … It is an astonishing piece of construction, complex and witty … It is a magnificent achievement … He’s never written a bad book, but this is the one that’ll see him mentioned in the same breath as William Gibson and David Mitchell … This book seriously just destroyed me with joy." (Warren Ellis)

"Nick Harkaway’s most ambitious novel yet. This story of near-future mass surveillance, artificial intelligence and human identity reads as if 11 novels have been crowded into a matter-transporter pod, emerging on the other side weirdly melded. An enormous, shaggy, infuriating, amazing and quite unforgettable piece of fiction, it’s the kind of thing only science fiction can do." (Adam Roberts Guardian, Science-Fiction Books of the Year)

"One of the most remarkable things about the remarkable Nick Harkaway is the irrelevance of his literary heritage. The son of John le Carré, he is very much his own author ... There’s a lot of explanation in this book, but then there’s a lot of everything going on in it. Densely texted pages of ideas, references and similes fizz and sparkle and burst into life in a fireworks display that keeps going ... The writing, too, is rarely anything other than impressive ... Gnomon does reward perseverance. Ludicrously complicated it may be, but it’s also wonderfully good." (Harry Ritchie Sunday Times)

"[A] prowling deep-sea monster of a novel … A sci-fi detective procedural, violent thriller and multi-layered mystery combine brilliantly to pull us through a profound exploration of power and paranoia, technology and myth … Harkaway dazzles, baffles and teases before guiding us through bloody darkness into understanding." (Daily Mail)

"This huge sci-fi detective novel of ideas is so eccentric, so audaciously plotted and so completely labyrinthine and bizarre that I had to put it aside more than once to emit Keanu-like “Whoahs” of appreciation ... It’s a technological shaggy-dog tale that threatens to out-Gibson William Gibson ... It is huge fun. And it will melt your brain … 700 odd pages power relentlessly by, only to touch down with the delicacy of a SpaceX rocket on – ah yes – the only possible ending. Whoah indeed. I wanted to give it a round of applause." (Spectator)

"Gnomon is only as large as its pages, but its pages seem like the door to a sinister Narnia … Reading Gnomon is like being an architecture critic when you suspect your reality is virtual. Its momentum is exhilarating, but frightening too. It resembles, very stylishly, a mind spinning itself insane." (Telegraph)

"A brainy, labyrinthine plot born of Dr Who and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, with a dash of EU finance, Brexit and some Snowden-esque paranoia about the pervasive surveillance of ‘the System’. A mind-bending, genre-blending fun house with a message or two." (Mail on Sunday)

"Trying to situate Gnomon in today’s literary landscape indicates how odd a figure it cuts. It has something of the large, fine-grained restlessness of David Foster Wallace, the scale and ambition of Zadie Smith or Jonathan Franzen. But it’s considerably more gonzo than any of them. It oughtn’t to work. It does, though. Gnomon is that rare thing, a book that cannot be accurately summarised or described. It needs to be experienced. And the experience, though it sometimes threatens to overwhelm, is always readable, absorbing, thought-provoking and, in the final analysis, unlike anything else. This novel is its own thing, separated from the continent, not part of the main. Gnomon is an island. And an island you really should visit." (Adam Roberts Literary Review)

"There is a glorious maximalism to the work of Nick Harkaway … Each novel has questioned – with admirable exuberance – one of the pillars of the novel itself … If one can level a criticism at the work of Jorge Luis Borges it would be that it is so perfectly distilled: Harkaway, on the other hand, takes the same themes and produces endless cadenzas around them. There is a brilliance to his writing, in which each idea is stretched and inverted, contorted and deformed. And he has a gift for the ingenious quip, the aphorism, the sensory simile … Gnomon is a kind of metaphysical epic … The surface sparkle belies a deep seriousness … Gnomon is a serious investigation of technological possibility." (Stuart Kelly Times Literary Supplement)

From the Inside Flap

Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency and ambient direct democracy. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.

Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave. She runs a lending library and conducts business by barter. She is off the grid in a society where the grid is everything. Denounced, arrested and interrogated by a machine that reads your life history from your brain, she dies in custody.

Mielikki Neith is the investigator charged with discovering how this tragedy occurred. Neith is Hunter’s opposite. She is a woman in her prime, a stalwart advocate of the System. It is the most democratic of governments, and Neith will protect it with her life.

When Neith opens the record of the interrogation, she finds not Hunter’s mind but four others, none of which can possibly be there: the banker Constantine Kyriakos, pursued by a ghostly shark that eats corporations; the alchemist Athenais Karthagonensis, jilted lover of St Augustine of Hippo and mother to his dead son, kidnapped and required to perform a miracle; Berihun Bekele, artist and grandfather, who must escape an arson fire by walking through walls – if only he can remember how; and Gnomon, a sociopathic human intelligence from a distant future, falling backwards in time to conduct four assassinations.

Aided – or perhaps opposed – by the pale and paradoxical Regno Lönnrot, Neith must work her way through the puzzles of her case and find the meaning of these impossible lives. Hunter has left her a message, but is it one she should heed, or a lie to lead her into catastrophe? And as the stories combine and the secrets and encryptions of Gnomon are revealed, the question becomes the most fundamental of all: who will live, and who will die?

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92 customer reviews

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