Coverart for item
The Resource The word exchange : a novel, Alena Graedon

The word exchange : a novel, Alena Graedon

Label
The word exchange : a novel
Title
The word exchange
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Alena Graedon
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ What if we became so dependent on our gadgets that we lost our ability to speak? That’s the big idea in Graedon’s entertainingly scary debut, a bibliothriller of epidemic proportions. In the nearish future, in a steampunky New York where messages travel by secret pneumatic tubes, Anana Johnson’s father, Doug, is preparing to launch the final edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL). Then he suddenly goes missing (both in real life and from his biographical entry in the dictionary), Anana sees something bizarre in the NADEL’s basement, and people start talking funny. Aphasia is the first symptom of “word flu,” a sickness that scrambles speech and renders some speakers permanently silent. It’s all tied to people’s habit of using their Memes (think iPhones to the tenth power) to buy words when they can’t remember them, Anana eventually learns. As in Dave Eggers’ The Circle (2013), Graedon’s fears about technology are clearly evident. There are a few stutters in the structure and pacing, but this is a remarkable first novel, combining a vividly imagined future with the fondly remembered past to offer a chilling prediction of where our unthinking reliance on technology is leading us. And, as you’d expect, Graedon’s word choice is exquisite. -- Graff, Keir (Reviewed 03-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 13, p23)
  • /* Starred Review */ Graedon's spectacular, ambitious debut explores a near-future America that's shifted almost exclusively to smart technologies, where print is only a nostalgia, and nostalgia is only an archaism. But while everyone carries "Memes," devices with enough data to negate the need for memory—let alone vocabulary—and can even anticipate wants and needs, Anana Johnson works closely with her anti-Meme father Doug, a famous lexicographer, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language. But when Doug goes missing, what once seemed like a luddite's quaint conspiracy theory takes on new plausibility, and with it, new threat, as the city quickly falls victim to a fast-spreading "word flu" virus. Chapters alternate between Ana's narration and the journal entries of her friend and colleague Bart, shedding light and inserting lacunae by turns. With secret societies, conspiracies, and mega-corp Synchronic's menacing technologies, Graedon deploys all the hallmarks of a futuristic thriller, but avoids derivative doomsday sci-fi shtick. Instead, her novel is rife with literary allusions and philosophical wormholes that aren't only decorative but integral to characters' abilities and limitations in communicating, and it succeeds precisely because it's as full of humanity as it is of mystery and intellectual prowess. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Agency. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed March 24, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 12, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Language becomes a virus in this terrifying vision of the print-empty, Web-reliant culture of the 22nd century. Students of linguistics may run screaming from this dystopian nightmare by Brooklyn-based debut novelist Graedon, but diligent fans of Neal Stephenson or Max Barry will be richly rewarded by a complex thriller. In fact, the novel is as much about lexicography, communication and philosophy as it is about secret societies, conspiracies and dangerous technologies. Our heroine is Anana Johnson, who works closely with her father, Doug, at the antiquated North American Dictionary of the English Language. The dictionary is an artifact in a near future where most of the populace uses "Memes"—implantable devices that feed massive amounts of data to users in real time but also monitor their environments to suggest behaviors, purchases and ideas. The devices, marketed by technology behemoth Synchronic, have become so pervasive that the company has enough clout to create and sell language itself to linguistically bereft users in their online Word Exchange. If that sounds creepy, it is, and it gets worse. One evening, Doug gives Ana two bottles of pills and a code word, "Alice," to use if danger should enter their loquacious lives. When Doug disappears, Ana and her comrade Bart must navigate the increasingly treacherous world behind the clean lines of Synchronic's marketing schemes, complete with chases through underground mazes and encounters with the subversive "Diachronic Society," which leads the resistance against the Meme vogue. The danger explodes when the world is engulfed by "word flu," causing widespread, virulent aphasia. "As more and more of our interactions are mediated by machines—as all consciousness and communications are streamed through Crowns, Ear Beads, screens and whatever Synchronic has planned next, for its newest Meme—there's no telling what will happen, not only to language but in some sense to civilization," warns the resistance. "The end of words would mean the end of memory and thought. In other words, our past and future." A wildly ambitious, darkly intellectual and inventive thriller about the intersection of language, technology and meaning.(Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10300529
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Graedon, Alena
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3607.R3286
LC item number
W67 2014
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Young women
  • Missing persons
  • Technology
  • Transmission of texts
Label
The word exchange : a novel, Alena Graedon
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
370 pages
Isbn
9780385537650
Lccn
2013033165
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
System control number
  • (Sirsi) BRD2013033165
  • (OCoLC)858672441
Label
The word exchange : a novel, Alena Graedon
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
370 pages
Isbn
9780385537650
Lccn
2013033165
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
System control number
  • (Sirsi) BRD2013033165
  • (OCoLC)858672441

Library Locations

    • Alpharetta BranchBorrow it
      10 Park Plaza, Alpharetta, GA, 30009, US
      34.073948 -84.292303
    • Milton BranchBorrow it
      855 Mayfield Rd, Milton, GA, 30009, US
      34.090136 -84.336532
    • Northwest at Scotts CrossingBorrow it
      2489 Perry Boulevard NW, Atlanta, GA, 30318, US
      33.804977 -84.469556
    • Palmetto BranchBorrow it
      9111 Cascade Palmetto Hwy, Palmetto, GA, 30268, US
      33.53057 -84.664268
    • Wolf Creek BranchBorrow it
      3100 Enon Road, Atlanta, GA, 30331, US
      33.672616 -84.574193
Processing Feedback ...