ContemporaryThe Candy House by Jennifer Egan

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan


I recently went to the serpentine gallery and took part in a virtual reality experience. You are given a headset and earphones, told to utterly empty your mind, before you are placed in the consciousness of an alien life form. I was in what can only be described as a school of fish. The collective moved together going towards noise and light – it was profoundly emotional and powerful, I genuinely thought I could reach out and touch the swarm moving in complete synchronicity. 

Reading The Candy House made me feel like this again, like being plugged into the matrix and connected to peripherally related people throughout decades. Technology has transcended private life – memory can now be downloaded and in turn you can access the memory and feeling of all others in the system. Trauma can be overwritten, data and analytics reign supreme and a growing number of people disappear electronically to try and retain their privacy.

Chapters jump and fly between characters and time, all linked and more revelatory than the next. It’s a kaleidoscope of colours, both funny, witty, profound, frightening and moving. Is Pulitzer Prize winning author @jennifereganwriter a prophet? Do we stand at the precipice of something similar? How do we quantify the risks compared to the benefits?

As much as this is an exploration of weighty themes this is also a rich collection of easily readable stories that all feed into one narrative. I can’t think of another book quite like it and I have immediately ordered A Visit from the Goon Squad, the book that precedes The Candy House, the latter made complete sense to me as a stand alone.

Once again I am blown away by the power of words on a page. This was published in April and is a book of the year for me, so I just had to include it in our summer reads article for @glamouruk – link can be found in our bio. C

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