When the enigmatic billionaire founder and CEO of Tetration, the world's most powerful tech company, is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. This tech mogul, known only as "Principal", takes Josh deep into his own mind, and outlines the history of Tetration, which started by revolutionizing the search engine and later ventured into smartphones, computer manufacturing, and the surveillance of American citizens.
Accompanying Josh on a mind-bending world tour of local Tetration offices, from Palo Alto to Dubai, Principal soon initiates Josh into the secret pretext of the autobiography project, and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.
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A brilliant and confounding novel
The prose is music (for the most part) until it clogs up with jargon or mind-numbing lists. Still, the part of the novel starting around section 30, the imagined recounting of the history of the internet by a dying Steve Jobs-like figure, is a treat, as is the relationship between this character and the narrator, who is trying to find a way to write Jobs' autobiography. Don't be discouraged by the opening of this section, which is so awful as to temp a quitter to quit. It's meant to be the narrator's first misdirected stab at writing the story. And for those of us who have been in the publishing business, there can never be too much inside baseball, including the Frankfort Book Fair. Those with knowledge of German, or who have taken German, might find those lengthy sections in mistranslated German more entertaining than trying. For me, the least interesting part of the book.
I'd take a crack at another one, but would wait a while. Unlike mysteries or thrillers, where reading one makes you want to read the next, this is like Thanksgiving dinner, or as the Brits call it, "over-egging the pudding." It's too rich. You need a break after finishing it.
Hmmm. These questions are awful. Yes, it was ok, and certainly a challenge to find someone to tackle all the languages. Kirby mispronounced some common English words, OR, they were written as neo-logisms. With a book like this, it's hard to tell. Nosocomical? as he read it, or "nosocomial," the actual words. Without looking at the text itself, I can't say. Sometimes Kirby's reading became too insistent, as if he had to brace himself to keep going, like whipping a flagging horse.
I don't think this book was meant to move the reader. It's ambitious, but not in that way.
Quite an experience. And remember, if you don't like the book after giving it a solid chance, Audible is very good about taking the book back and giving credit. I did it once. On a short Dennis Lehane novel that I just couldn't get into.
Ignore the reviews. A funny and engrossing book.
I found this book interesting all the way through, building as it went along. An excellent reader for the text, which might have been off-puttimg on paper. Can't understand the extremely negative reviews. Give it a try. If you don't like it, return it.
- Susan C. S.