The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth
A Novel

70%

6 Critic Reviews

Mr. Roth writes in a gently self-mocking, utterly disarming style...As Eric describes his way of calculating his path through everyday situations, the reader can both enjoy his acumen and wish that he knew better.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Eric Muller has been trying to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. As a teenage geek, he discovered his gift for programming computers-but his attempts to understand women only confirm that he's better at writing code than connecting with human beings. Brilliant, neurotic, and lonely, Eric spends high school in the solitary glow of a screen.

By his early twenties, Eric's talent has made him a Silicon Valley millionaire. He can coax girls into bed with ironic remarks and carefully timed intimacies, but hiding behind wit and empathy gets lonely, and he fears that love will always be out of reach.

So when Eric falls for the beautiful, fiercely opinionated Maya Marcom, and she miraculously falls for him too, he's in new territory. But the more he learns about his perfect girlfriend's unresolved past, the further Eric's obsessive mind spirals into confusion and doubt. Can he reconcile his need for order and logic with the mystery and chaos of love?

This brilliant debut ushers Eric Muller-flawed, funny, irresistibly endearing-into the pantheon of unlikely heroes. With an unblinking eye for the absurdities and horrors of contemporary life, Gabriel Roth gives us a hilarious and heartbreaking meditation on self consciousness, memory, and love.

 

About Gabriel Roth

See more books from this Author
Gabriel Roth was born and raised in London and educated at Brown University and at San Francisco State University, from which he received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. For several years he was employed as a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He now works as a writer and software developer and lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York. THE UNKNOWNS is his first novel.
 
Published July 2, 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books. 230 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Unknowns
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 18 2013

The messy story of a guy neither bad enough to be evil, nor good enough for redemption.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Jul 10 2013

Mr. Roth writes in a gently self-mocking, utterly disarming style...As Eric describes his way of calculating his path through everyday situations, the reader can both enjoy his acumen and wish that he knew better.

Read Full Review of The Unknowns: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Harry Ritchie on Sep 27 2013

The novel makes one wrong move itself, when Eric relays Maya's dad's version of events. It could also do with more coherence in the plotting and fewer loose ends. Nevertheless, this is an impressive and scarily assured debut – and really funny.

Read Full Review of The Unknowns: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Mar 18 2013

This story is set in 2002, against the backdrop of the pending invasion of Iraq...Roth presents two narrative threads in alternating chapters and is equally adept at inhabiting both adolescent Eric and the smoother adult he becomes.

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The Telegraph

Good
on Jul 07 2013

Less successful is the depiction of Eric’s acquaintances in early Noughties San Francisco who seem to blur in their various quests for self-fulfillment...The Unknowns is a confident novel that manages to be both funny and sad.

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The Melbourne Review

Above average
Reviewed by Tali Lavi on Jul 21 2013

As a teenager, Eric is entertaining and his tormented ruminations endearing...but his internal dialogue when older can be exasperating in its narcissism. Whilst sometimes this is a deliberate device, at other times it's evidently not.

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Reader Rating for The Unknowns
78%

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