The Word Exchange

Alena Graedon. Doubleday, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-53765-0
Graedon's spectacular, ambitious debut explores a near-future America that's shifted almost exclusively to smart technologies, where print is only a nostalgia, and nostalgia is only an archaism. But while everyone carries "Memes," devices with enough data to negate the need for memory—let alone vocabulary—and can even anticipate wants and needs, Anana Johnson works closely with her anti-Meme father Doug, a famous lexicographer, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language. But when Doug goes missing, what once seemed like a luddite's quaint conspiracy theory takes on new plausibility, and with it, new threat, as the city quickly falls victim to a fast-spreading "word flu" virus. Chapters alternate between Ana's narration and the journal entries of her friend and colleague Bart, shedding light and inserting lacunae by turns. With secret societies, conspiracies, and mega-corp Synchronic's menacing technologies, Graedon deploys all the hallmarks of a futuristic thriller, but avoids derivative doomsday sci-fi shtick. Instead, her novel is rife with literary allusions and philosophical wormholes that aren't only decorative but integral to characters' abilities and limitations in communicating, and it succeeds precisely because it's as full of humanity as it is of mystery and intellectual prowess. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 04/08/2014
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 281 pages - 978-0-385-53766-7
Book - 978-1-4829-6905-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-6903-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4829-6904-7
Hardcover - 370 pages - 978-0-297-86975-7
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-297-86976-4
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-385-68014-1
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-78022-562-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-345-80603-1
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-385-68015-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-56433-5
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-385-68013-4
Book - 978-1-4829-9678-4
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.