Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

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Finally, many of these discourses are too lengthy and digressive. Gnomon clocks in at 700 pages. Granted, the story is complex, but it would have benefited greatly had several hundred pages been eliminated. As a result, I’m guessing a significant number of readers who start the book will not see it through to completion.
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Synopsis

In a near-future Britain, a distributed surveillance-democracy called The System knows everything you, and can even spy on your mind. It's a Panopticon country. But when state investigators then look into the head of a refusenik novelist named Diana Hunter, what they find there is not her life story but that of four other people, spread across thousands of years, all vibrantly real and each utterly impossible - and before they can unravel that puzzle, Diana Hunter, shockingly, dies as a result of the investigation, an unheard of result in a perfect system which protects everyone from harm. That's where Inspector Mielikki Neith comes in, a staunch believer in The System who is assigned to investigate the Hunter case. The only problem is that the teasing mysteries in the dead woman's mind may change all that. And these are extraordinary memories, ranging from the life of a banker named Constantine Kyriakos, who finds himself pursued by a shark that may in fact be a god; and an Ethiopian retired pop artist, Berihun Bekele, who picks up his brushes to create a virtual world called The System at the behest of his games' designer grand-daughter; and Athenaïs Karthagonensis, the jilted lover of one of the Church's most beloved saints, who seeks to resurrect her dead son with the help of a non-existent miracle; and then finally GNOMON, the acerbic post-human who is plotting to assassinate the next iteration of the Universe . . . The question is whether there is a truth hidden in the noise of all those lives, as Mielikki begins to suspect? Or is all that unfolding experience and drama simply a cover for some kind of attack upon the fabric of the most democratic nation state ever constructed? And the questions just keep coming. Who was Diana Hunter, and why are her books impossible to obtain? And above all, was Diana Hunter innocent all along - worse, could she have been correct to attempt to withstand a perfect, democratic system?
 

About Nick Harkaway

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Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall in 1972. He studied philosophy, sociology and politics at Clare College, Cambridge, and then worked in the film industry. His fiction debut was The Gone-Away World. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.   www.nickharkaway.com
 
Published January 9, 2018 by Knopf. 688 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Gnomon
All: 5 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on Oct 31 2017

Yet there’s no Smiley in the smiley-face future world where being a fascist busybody is a badge of honor—though enigmas abound, to be sure. Fans of Pynchon and William Gibson alike will devour this smart, expertly written bit of literary subversion.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Ben East on Dec 31 2017

The constant diversions through time, space and philosophy mean Harkaway treads an incredibly fine line between being enjoyably bewildering and maddeningly, deliberately convoluted. A book to get lost in – but not necessarily in a good way.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Steven Poole on Nov 16 2017

A novel can be awfully long without being long-winded. Gnomon, however, reads like the first draft of what might have been a tighter 400-page book rather than a rambling 700-pager.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Jason Sheehan on Jan 07 2018

Harkaway lays this out beautifully, mysteriously and mischeviously. After reading the first 50-some pages of Gnomon, I was fully on board.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Tim Gebhart on Dec 15 2017

Finally, many of these discourses are too lengthy and digressive. Gnomon clocks in at 700 pages. Granted, the story is complex, but it would have benefited greatly had several hundred pages been eliminated. As a result, I’m guessing a significant number of readers who start the book will not see it through to completion.

Read Full Review of Gnomon | See more reviews from Blog Critics

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