I Am No One

Patrick Flanery. Crown/Duggan, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-101-90585-2
Flanery’s (Absolution) third novel is a brilliant commentary on pervasive government intrusion into the private lives of citizens. Middle-aged American college professor Jeremy O’Keefe has returned to the U.S. after teaching at Oxford for 10 years and gaining dual U.S.-British citizenship. His life, however, is unsettled. Once back in New York City, teaching at NYU, he feels like a stranger in his own country, with an uncomfortable sense of cultural dislocation and loneliness. Then mysterious boxes arrive at his apartment, and his tenuous grip is truly shaken. The boxes contain his whole digital life for the past 10 years—Internet data, phone records, and photos. Clearly, he has been under surveillance for years, but he has no idea why. Jeremy’s paranoia spikes when he also realizes he is being shadowed by Michael Ramsey, who claims to be a former student. Jeremy thinks back to his years at Oxford, trying to figure out what might have triggered such detailed surveillance, and why someone would want him to know he was being watched. Potential reasons include his strained relationship with another Oxford professor, as well as his illicit romance with Fadia, an Egyptian graduate student with dangerous political connections. This is an excellent portrayal of a good man manipulated by others, without ever understanding why. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016
Release date: 07/05/2016
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-101-90587-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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