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Gnomon: A novel – tekijä: Nick Harkaway
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Gnomon: A novel (vuoden 2018 painos)

– tekijä: Nick Harkaway (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5662132,053 (3.82)32
"From the widely acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World and Tigerman, a virtuosic new novel and his most ambitious book yet--equal parts dark comedy, gripping detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle--set in a not-too-distant-future, high-tech surveillance state. In the world of Gnomon, citizens are ceaselessly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of "transparency." When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody during a routine interrogation, Mielikki Neith, a trusted state inspector, is assigned to the case. Immersing herself in neural recordings of the interrogation, she finds a panorama of characters and events that Hunter gave life to in order to forestall the investigation: a lovelorn financier in Athens who has a mystical experience with a shark; a brilliant alchemist in ancient Carthage confronting the unexpected outcome of her invention; an expat Ethiopian painter in London designing a controversial new video game. In the static between these mysterious visions, Neith begins to catch glimpses of the real Diana Hunter--and, alarmingly, of herself, the staggering consequences of which will reverberate throughout the world. Gnomon is a dazzling, panoramic achievement from one of the most original voices in contemporary fiction"--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Ruy_Blanes
Teoksen nimi:Gnomon: A novel
Kirjailijat:Nick Harkaway (Tekijä)
Info:Vintage (2018), 689 pages
Kokoelmat:Read
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:-

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Gnomon (tekijä: Nick Harkaway)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 21) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In Britain in the unspecified future, there is a state of constant government surveillance, all computerized and accessible--and perceived to be of benefit by its citizens. The death in custody of a suspected dissident, Diana Hunter, sends an inspector down a rabbit hole.

Gnomon has a rather intricate structure, in which the narrative quickly switches from the central mystery to another set of stories. It transpires that these are actually stories within the mind of Diana Hunter, and the novel switches back and forth between them and the investigation into her death.

While I enjoyed Harkaway's debut, The Gone Away World, I found the style to be distracting. Here he's gone for a much less rambling, not trying-too-hard style--the main narrative is much closer to a typical techno-thriller, though he's not sworn off random information dumps. Don't be sloppy, though: there's a LOT of information here. Much like the System provides its user-citizens with an onslaught of data that is analyzed and searched, Harkaway includes a lot of detail to keep track of, and at 671 pages (in fairly small print) that adds up. Small details wind up being consequential, and this rewards close reading. At first, I found the separate narratives somewhat jarring as they took away from the central plot, but gradually, they knit together and it becomes clear why it's structured the way it is.

I've always been a fan of dystopian literature, and Harkaway gives it a twist here by not making the dystopic nature apparent to all the characters within it. The System works, from their point of view--though to the reader, constant surveillance and the possibility of a brain probe don't seem so benign.

I almost want to take a star off because of the ending: it makes sense in context, but at the same time was a cheap shot to pull off. I enjoyed the ride there enough to forgive it, though. Recommended, though not for those who like their SF zippy. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
This is an intricate book. There are two frame stories, and within the frames intertwined plots across time and space. It builds in different directions, and surprises with changes of direction. There is spycraft and myth. There is surveillance and a shark. Equity trading. AI. Video game design. Painting. The underworld and the underground. Katabasis. ( )
  jvnickerson | Jul 10, 2021 |
Man, this is a lot of book. It starts off as a straightforward dystopian sci-fi story, with an agent of the standard Sinister Comprehensive Societal Monitoring System attempting to determine why a person of interest died during an investigation, before the characters multiply and the timelines expand and the novel transforms into a cosmic detective story that includes a priapic Greek banker during the 2008 financial crisis, an Ethiopian artist during the Selassie period, and the mistress-turned-alchemist-haruspex of St. Augustine, working in musings on art, religion, high finance, and freedom, before it neatly folds back into itself several hundred pages later. Astute readers will note and enjoy the many literary references; Harkaway is able to allude to and draw upon works like 1984, Cloud Atlas, Foucault's Pendulum, Illuminatus!, Greek mythology, Borges' short stories like "Death and the Compass", and so on without ever being excessively derivative. Indeed, he has so much fun creating this world of nested realities and universe-eating sharks that you never think you're reading something else.

I was a bit unfulfilled when it ended, however. My main complaint is that while the pace is engrossing, and there's always plenty of stuff going on, you the reader aren't asked to do much but sit and watch Harkaway display his erudition, so while he has clearly intended for this to be more than the standard thriller (most thrillers wouldn't throw in high-concept literary thematic allusions like apocatastasis or catabasis), there's not much for you to chew on afterwards and it ends up feeling closer to a "this author spent a lot of time on this" novel like House of Leaves than "this author packed a lot of life lessons in" novel like Cryptonomicon. I did have fun looking up his British references to things like Lubetkin's postwar architecture, Hawksmoor's churches, Jackie Morris' paintings, and so on, and also exploring neat historical connections like that the repeated phrase "Quaerendo invenietis" is Latin for "Seek and ye shall find" from the Sermon On the Mount in Matthew 7:7, which also references Bach's Musical Offering (BWV 1079). Does it mean anything? Maybe not, besides familiar warnings that universal surveillance systems are bad news, but it was still a blast to read. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Multiple layers of meaning and symbol. I can't feel I understood it all, but I enjoyed what I did understand. Full of questions of reality, identity, art, loyalty, humanity. Too dense at points, but fun action at other points. Funny, and serious. ( )
  keithostertag | Apr 14, 2021 |
A rather great set of interwoven story-lines marred by being too long and digressive. The writing style is spectacular and Harkaway has a huge vocabulary, (that he gleefully and constantly shows off). But the seemingly endless cleverness conversely ended up working against my enjoyment. In fairness, real life has been extremely busy lately and that impacted my ability to spend adequate time with this book, (it took me 15 days to read!). I may have rated this higher had I been better able to focus. Whatever the reason, as I reached the denouement I was feeling a bit exhausted and was thankful to finally finish.

That's not to say that other readers won't find this book brilliant. In many ways it is absolutely staggeringly brilliant. I simply found the nearly 700-page length to be a bigger container than needed to tell the story. ( )
  ScoLgo | Dec 27, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 21) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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--Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Emperor
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"The death of a suspect in custody," says Inspector Neith of the Witness, "is a very serious matter. There is no one at the Witness Programme who does not feel a sense of personal failure this morning."
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

-

"From the widely acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World and Tigerman, a virtuosic new novel and his most ambitious book yet--equal parts dark comedy, gripping detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle--set in a not-too-distant-future, high-tech surveillance state. In the world of Gnomon, citizens are ceaselessly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of "transparency." When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody during a routine interrogation, Mielikki Neith, a trusted state inspector, is assigned to the case. Immersing herself in neural recordings of the interrogation, she finds a panorama of characters and events that Hunter gave life to in order to forestall the investigation: a lovelorn financier in Athens who has a mystical experience with a shark; a brilliant alchemist in ancient Carthage confronting the unexpected outcome of her invention; an expat Ethiopian painter in London designing a controversial new video game. In the static between these mysterious visions, Neith begins to catch glimpses of the real Diana Hunter--and, alarmingly, of herself, the staggering consequences of which will reverberate throughout the world. Gnomon is a dazzling, panoramic achievement from one of the most original voices in contemporary fiction"--

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