From one of the most celebrated writers of our time, a literary figure with cult status, a “sibling novel” to her Pulitzer Prize- and NBCC Award-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad — an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity and meaning in a world where memories and identities are no longer private.
The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is 40, with four kids, restless, desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. It’s 2010. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.
In spellbinding interlocking narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also extraordinarily moving, a testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption. In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter and a chapter of tweets.
Jennifer Egan is the author of several novels and a short story collection. Her 2017 novel, Manhattan Beach, a New York Times bestseller, was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was chosen as New York City’s One Book One New York read. Her previous novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times book prize, and was recently named one of the best books of the decade by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and several others. Also a journalist, she has written frequently in the New York Times Magazine. She recently completed a term as President of PEN America. Her new novel, The Candy House, a sibling to A Visit From the Goon Squad, will be published on April 5, 2022.
Jennifer Egan photo courtesy of Pieter M. Van Hattem