April 2022 Indie Next List
“Egan weaves together these seemingly disparate characters and storylines into a stunning ending. The Candy House is about family, connection, legacy, technology, and so much more. It is her best work yet.”
— Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT
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, Vulture, and many more!
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.
If Goon Squad was organized like a concept album, The Candy House incorporates Electronic Dance Music’s more disjunctive approach. The parts are titled: Build, Break, Drop. With an emphasis on gaming, portals, and alternate worlds, its structure also suggests the experience of moving among dimensions in a role-playing game.
The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away. Egan takes to stunning new heights her “deeply intuitive forays into the darker aspects of our technology-driven, image-saturated culture” (Vogue). The Candy House delivers an absolutely extraordinary combination of fierce, exhilarating intelligence and heart.
About the Author
Jennifer Egan is the author of six previous books of fiction: Manhattan Beach, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award Finalist; and The Invisible Circus. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Granta, McSweeney's, and The New York Times Magazine. Her website is JenniferEgan.com.
Michael Boatman spends his days and nights pretending to be other people. For a living. He’s acted in television shows such as The Good Wife, China Beach, Spin City, ARLI$$, Anger Management, Instant Mom; films such as Hamburger Hill, The Glass Shield, Bad Parents; and Broadway plays. MichaelBoatman.us, Twitter.com/MichaelBoatman
"The ensemble performance of this novel is exceptional. Michael Boatman narrates the opening chapter at the right pace with the right intonation. He captures the interior life of the enigmatic Bix Boughton, a social media genius who invents the world-altering technology “Own Your Unconscious,” which is crucial to the plot. Alex Allwine delivers a haunting automaton-like second-person narration of the chapter titled “Lulu the Spy, 2032,” Tyra Lynne Barr emulates the chirpy sound of 13-year-old Molly in “The Perimeter After-Molly,” and Dan Bittner supplies sharply insightful tone as Ames, whose life story ends this imaginative tour de force. The time-traveling chapters reprise some of the characters from Egan’s award-winning VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, but this novel has a wider timeframe, a greater trajectory, and a more complex plot."
— Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, AudioFile Magazine
“The successful translation of all this complexity to the audio environment is no small achievement, with 20 perfectly cast narrators, among them actor Lucy Liu, adding vibrant humanity without sacrificing comprehension.”
— Marion Winik