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The Candy House

The Candy House

by Jennifer Egan

Narrated by Not Yet Available

Unabridged — 11 hours, 11 minutes

Jennifer Egan
The Candy House

The Candy House

by Jennifer Egan

Narrated by Not Yet Available

Unabridged — 11 hours, 11 minutes

Jennifer Egan

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One of Barack Obama's Summer Favorites!

Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Oprah Daily, Glamour, USA TODAY, Parade, Bustle, San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Times, BuzzFeed, and Vulture

“A compelling read that showcases Egan's masterful storytelling.” -Time
“Dazzling.” -Vogue
“Radiant, exhilarating.” -Slate
“Mesmerizing¿A thought-provoking examination of how and why we change.” -People

From one of the most celebrated writers of our time comes an “inventive, effervescent” (Oprah Daily) novel about the memory and quest for authenticity and human connection.

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 forty, with four kids, restless, and 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. Within a decade, Bix's new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”-which allows you access to every memory you've ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others-has seduced multitudes.

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. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also a moving testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for connection, family, privacy, and love.

“A beautiful exploration of loss, memory, and history” (San Francisco Chronicle), “this is minimalist maximalism. It's as if Egan compressed a big 19th-century novel onto a flash drive” (The New York Times).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 01/17/2022

Egan returns to the fertile territory and characters of A Visit from the Goon Squad with an electrifying and shape-shifting story that one-ups its Pulitzer-winning predecessor. I’ll see your PowerPoint chapter, Egan seems to say, and raise you a chapter in tweets, and another in emails and texts. In the near future, a platform called Own Your Unconscious allows memories to be uploaded to the cloud and accessed by anyone. “Counters” seek to ferret out “proxies” that help hide “eluders” who resist merging their “gray grabs” to the collective in order to leave their online personae behind. Not everyone sees this as panacea, and a countermovement called Mondrian arises. Appearances from music producer Bennie Salazar, his mentor Lou Kline, and their lovers and children provide sharp pleasures for Goon Squad fans, and Egan cleverly echoes the ambitious, savvy marketing schemes of real-world tech barons with Own Your Unconscious. It casts its spell on Bennie, whose punk rock days with the Flaming Dildos are long past: “Tongue-in-cheek nostalgia is merely the portal, the candy house, if you will, through which we hope to lure in a new generation and bewitch them,” he writes in an email. Twisting through myriad points of view, narrative styles, and divergent voices, Egan proves herself as perceptive an interpreter of the necessity of human connection as ever, and her vision is as irresistible as the tech she describes. This is Egan’s best yet. Agent: Binky Urban, ICM Partners. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

Praise for The Candy House

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Time, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Oprah Daily, Glamour, USA Today, Parade, Bustle, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, The Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Times, Off the Shelf, Buzzfeed, and Vulture.

“I’m all about untraditional narratives and Jennifer Egan delivers once again. Folks familiar with her award-winning A Visit from the Good Squad might recognize characters in this book but to call it a sequel would be unfair to both books. It’s a book I couldn’t put down.”
—Elisa Shoenberger, Book Riot

“As the right to privacy continues to be under threat and assault, from our legislatures to our courts, I am looking forward to Egan’s reflections — through her story — on what that could mean for our future.”
—Chelsea Clinton, Politico

The Candy does what only the best and rarest books can: peel back the thin membrane of ordinary life, and find transcendence on the other side.”
—Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

The Candy House is bursting with stories, thick with beating hearts...Egan’s writing dazzles.”
—Maggie Galehouse, Houston Chronicle

“May be the smartest novel you read all year... Fiction at its best ..gets at our secret selves in ways the internet can’t... Egan’s audacity is welcome.”
—Mark Athitakis, USA Today

“Radiant... an exhilarating delight...Egan opens windows on entrancing new worlds, in which what happened depends on who’s telling the story.”
—Laura Miller, Slate

“This is a beautiful exploration of loss, memory and history, a not too subtle critique of what is lost when we live our lives online.”
—Allison Arieff, The San Francisco Chronicle

“You don't have to read A Visit From the Goon Squad to love this sibling novel to Egan's stellar hit...complex and intimate.”
—Good Housekeeping

“Rich in indelible characters...full of humor and heartbreak and insight about our brave new world...Egan’s subtle attention to the distinctive voices of her many characters is remarkable.”
—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“For Egan, getting it right has to do with fulfilling a reader’s craving —for mystery and imagination, as opposed to the barrage of information we find much easier to access.”
—Lynn Steger Strong, Los Angeles Times

“A brilliant demonstration of the unquantifiable pleasures of great fiction.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

The Candy House is a brilliant portrait of intersecting lives.”
—Annalisa Quinn, NPR

“Like a well-curated playlist, The Candy House uses chapter breaks to switch perspectives and tempos without killing the mood, and each sensuous little story feels like a peek through the blinds at people whose larger journeys we can only guess at.”
—Patrick Rapa, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“ pick up a novel and it makes your skin prickle. Jennifer Egan’s new one, The Candy House, is one of these novels. This is minimalist maximalism. It’s as if Egan compressed a big 19th-century triple-decker novel onto a flash drive... Egan goes all in on the power of storytelling and of fiction.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“A fast-paced polyvoiced romp thru America in the grip of a sinister tech that allows others into your mind. EEK!”
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments

“A complex, compelling read that showcases Egan’s masterful storytelling.”

“A multi-narrator masterpiece about searching for meaning in a crazy world.”
—Entertainment Weekly


“Inventive, effervescent... Egan plaits multiple narratives and techniques to underscore the manifold ways our own desires betray us in a brave new coded world.”
—Oprah Daily

“Very funny, penetrating, and impactful.”

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2021-12-24
Egan revisits some characters from A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010) and their children to continue her exploration of what fiction can be and do in the 21st century.

As Manhattan Beach (2017) showed, Egan is perfectly capable of writing a satisfying traditional novel, but she really dazzles when she turns her formidable gifts to examining the changes to society and individuals wrought by the internet and social media. One of those instruments of change is Bix, an NYU classmate of Sasha in Goon Squad but here a vastly rich social media magnate who, in 2016, makes the next leap in the “Self-Surveillance Era” by creating, first, Own Your Unconscious, which allows people to externalize their consciousness on a cube, and then Collective Consciousness, which offers the option of “uploading all or part of your externalized memory to an online ‘collective,’ ” thereby gaining access to “the anonymous thoughts and memories of everyone, living or dead, who had done the same.” Egan explores the impact of this unnervingly plausible innovation with her habitual panache, ranging from her characters’ pre-internet youths to the 2030s. While there are “eluders” like Bix’s son, Gregory, who refuse to share their private thoughts with strangers, many are seduced by the convenience and power of this collective tool. The most stylistically audacious chapter shows us the scarily logical next step; it reproduces the instructions of a “weevil” implanted in the brain of Lulu, daughter of morally compromised Goon Squad publicist Dolly, now a spy married to “a visionary in the realm of national security.” As she did in in Goon Squad’s PowerPoint chapter, Egan doles out information in small bites that accumulate to demonstrate the novel’s time-honored strengths: richly complicated characters and compelling narratives. The final chapter rolls back to 1991 to movingly affirm the limits of floods of undigested information and the ability of fiction, only fiction, to “roam with absolute freedom through the human collective.”

A thrilling, endlessly stimulating work that demands to be read and reread.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940173317872
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/05/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews