Bug

Giacomo Sartori, trans. from the Italian by Frederika Randall. Restless, $18 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-63206-274-1
Italian novelist Sartori (I Am God) delivers a witty tale of family resilience and a dangerous, homemade AI bot. After the nameless, deaf 10-year-old narrator’s mother is left in a coma after a car accident, the narrator bites a schoolmate in frustration and is suspended. Now stuck at home, the boy works with a tutor while dealing with his quirky family members: a computer programmer father who seeks help from his 13-year-old computer hacker son, IQ, to fulfill a contract with a U.S. intelligence agency; and a pot-smoking grandfather who studies worms. Added to this ensemble is the narrator’s mysterious new digital friend, BUG, the result of one of IQ’s many computer experiments. The boy enjoys BUG’s company, but as their communications continue, he begins to suspect BUG is interfering with the world around him, from turning off the television to infiltrating the school’s computer system and allowing for his readmittance. While Sartori tends to pile on the similes (“I climbed lightly, like a spider”; “Papa howls like a wolf”) and rushes his conclusion, the characters’ antics escalate in inventive and unexpected ways. This is worth a spin. Agent: Marco Vigevani, Italian Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/01/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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