Four New Messages by Joshua Cohen

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But to sum this up in Web terms, he’ll make you want to be an angel investor in his stuff. What’s a book but a public offering? You’ll want to be in on the ground floor.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A quartet of audacious fictions that capture the pathos and absurdity of life in the age of the internet

*A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice*
* One of Flavorwire's "50 Books That Define the Past Five Years in Literature"

A spectacularly talented young writer has returned from the present with Four New Messages, urgent and visionary dispatches that seek to save art, sex, and even alienation from corporatism and technology run rampant.

In "Emission," a hapless drug dealer in Princeton is humiliated when a cruel co-ed exposes him exposing himself on a blog gone viral. "McDonald's" tells of a frustrated pharmaceutical copywriter whose imaginative flights fail to bring solace because of a certain word he cannot put down on paper. In "The College Borough" a father visiting NYU with his daughter remembers a former writing teacher, a New Yorker exiled to the Midwest who refuses to read his students' stories, asking them instead to build a replica of the Flatiron Building. "Sent" begins mythically in the woods of Russia, but in a few virtuosic pages plunges into the present, where an aspiring journalist finds himself in a village that shelters all the women who've starred in all the internet porn he's ever enjoyed.

Highbrow and low-down, these four intensely felt stories explain what happens when the virtual begins to colonize the real -- they harness the torrential power and verbal dexterity that have established Cohen as one of America's most brilliant younger writers.

 

About Joshua Cohen

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Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in New Jersey. He is the author of five books, including A Heaven of Others and Witz. His nonfiction has appeared in Bookforum, The Forward, Harper's and other publications. He lives in New York City.
 
Published August 7, 2012 by Graywolf Press. 209 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Four New Messages
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Rachel Kushner on Feb 15 2013

In terms of influence, trust that Cohen...has read all the right people, the modernist ones, from Europe, and leave it at that unless you want a uselessly long list. This writer is literate...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jul 31 2012

But to sum this up in Web terms, he’ll make you want to be an angel investor in his stuff. What’s a book but a public offering? You’ll want to be in on the ground floor.

Read Full Review of Four New Messages | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Aug 07 2012

Sadly, the four explorations come fully encoded in the linguistic shorthand common to the Internet experience...the reader is left confused and bleary over prose that has been microwaved into something else again.

Read Full Review of Four New Messages | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for Four New Messages
65%

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