The fantastic new novel by the author of Angelmaker and The Gone-Away World.
A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Gnomon is an extraordinary novel, and one I can’t stop thinking about some weeks after I read it. It is deeply troubling, magnificently strange, and an exhilarating read.' Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
'Nick Harkaway’s most ambitious novel yet. [A] story of near-future mass surveillance, artificial intelligence and human identity ... An amazing and quite unforgettable piece of fiction.' Guardian
'Harkaway dazzles.' Daily Mail
'Wonderfully good.' Sunday Times
Near-future Britain is a state in which citizens are constantly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of 'transparency.' Every action is seen, every word is recorded and the System has access to thoughts and memories.
When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in custody, it marks the first time a citizen has been killed during an interrogation. Mielikki Neith, a trusted state inspector, is assigned to find out what went wrong. Immersing herself in neural recordings of the interrogation, what she finds isn't Hunter but rather a panorama of characters within Hunter's psyche.
Embedded in the memories of these impossible lives lies a code which Neith must decipher to find out what Hunter is hiding. The staggering consequences of what she finds will reverberate throughout the world.
“Gnomon is an extraordinary novel, and one I can’t stop thinking about some weeks after I read it. It is deeply troubling, magnificently strange, and an exhilarating read.”
Emily St. John Mandel, author of 'Station Eleven'
“The best thing he’s ever written … It is an astonishing piece of construction, complex and witty … It is a magnificent achievement … He’s never written a bad book, but this is the one that’ll see him mentioned in the same breath as William Gibson and David Mitchell … This book seriously just destroyed me with joy.”
“This huge sci-fi detective novel of ideas is so eccentric, so audaciously plotted and so completely labyrinthine and bizarre that I had to put it aside more than once to emit Keanu-like “Whoahs” of appreciation ... It’s a technological shaggy-dog tale that threatens to out-Gibson William Gibson ... It is huge fun. And it will melt your brain … 700 odd pages power relentlessly by, only to touch down with the delicacy of a SpaceX rocket on – ah yes – the only possible ending. Whoah indeed. I wanted to give it a round of applause.”
“Trying to situate Gnomon in today’s literary landscape indicates how odd a figure it cuts. It has something of the large, fine-grained restlessness of David Foster Wallace, the scale and ambition of Zadie Smith or Jonathan Franzen. But it’s considerably more gonzo than any of them. It oughtn’t to work. It does, though. Gnomon is that rare thing, a book that cannot be accurately summarised or described. It needs to be experienced. And the experience, though it sometimes threatens to overwhelm, is always readable, absorbing, thought-provoking and, in the final analysis, unlike anything else. This novel is its own thing, separated from the continent, not part of the main. Gnomon is an island. And an island you really should visit.”
Adam Roberts, Literary Review
“There is a glorious maximalism to the work of Nick Harkaway … Each novel has questioned – with admirable exuberance – one of the pillars of the novel itself … If one can level a criticism at the work of Jorge Luis Borges it would be that it is so perfectly distilled: Harkaway, on the other hand, takes the same themes and produces endless cadenzas around them. There is a brilliance to his writing, in which each idea is stretched and inverted, contorted and deformed. And he has a gift for the ingenious quip, the aphorism, the sensory simile … Gnomon is a kind of metaphysical epic … The surface sparkle belies a deep seriousness … Gnomon is a serious investigation of technological possibility.”
Stuart Kelly, Times Literary Supplement
“One of the most remarkable things about the remarkable Nick Harkaway is the irrelevance of his literary heritage. The son of John le Carré, he is very much his own author ... There’s a lot of explanation in this book, but then there’s a lot of everything going on in it. Densely texted pages of ideas, references and similes fizz and sparkle and burst into life in a fireworks display that keeps going ... The writing, too, is rarely anything other than impressive ... Gnomon does reward perseverance. Ludicrously complicated it may be, but it’s also wonderfully good.”
Harry Ritchie, Sunday Times
“Nick Harkaway’s most ambitious novel yet. This story of near-future mass surveillance, artificial intelligence and human identity reads as if 11 novels have been crowded into a matter-transporter pod, emerging on the other side weirdly melded. An enormous, shaggy, infuriating, amazing and quite unforgettable piece of fiction, it’s the kind of thing only science fiction can do.”
Adam Roberts, Guardian, Science-Fiction Books of the Year
“Opening a novel by Nick Harkaway feels like stepping into a theme park for the mind – every page you turn brings new delights for the mind and the senses. Gnomon is brilliant and terrifying, full of pleasures big and small. Basically, everything I want in a book.”
Charles Yu, author of 'How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe'
“Gnomon is only as large as its pages, but its pages seem like the door to a sinister Narnia … Reading Gnomon is like being an architecture critic when you suspect your reality is virtual. Its momentum is exhilarating, but frightening too. It resembles, very stylishly, a mind spinning itself insane.”
“[A] prowling deep-sea monster of a novel … A sci-fi detective procedural, violent thriller and multi-layered mystery combine brilliantly to pull us through a profound exploration of power and paranoia, technology and myth … Harkaway dazzles, baffles and teases before guiding us through bloody darkness into understanding.”
“This is a book that is in love with books, and no reader can help but warm to that.”
“Woven with witty allusions to everything from obscure texts to pop songs, and warning against an unthinking sacrifice of privacy to paranoia, Gnomon will appeal to fans of William Gibson and David Mitchell.”
“A brainy, labyrinthine plot born of Dr Who and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, with a dash of EU finance, Brexit and some Snowden-esque paranoia about the pervasive surveillance of ‘the System’. A mind-bending, genre-blending fun house with a message or two.”
Mail on Sunday
“A bit like Terry Pratchett meets Franz Kafka … Harkaway seems like he must have a brain the size of a planet.”
David Shrigley, Shortlist
“A novel of energy and huge ambition … that confirms the emergence of major talent.”
“A psychedelic experience.”
“A book to get lost in.”