Book of Numbers

51CGiGG5sLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Language is paramount in Cohen’s work. His last novel, Witz, was a linguistically dexterous work spanning more than 800 pages. Two-page sentences spiked with shards of scattered verses invited the reader into the deep psyche of his characters. Here, the author pens a syntactically enticing narrative of technology. The main character, Joshua Cohen, is an unsuccessful novelist who makes a living as a ghostwriter. He has written everything from PhD dissertations to conference presentations for academics. However, when he is contacted by the CEO of Tetration, one of the world’s most successful tech firms, to ghostwrite his memoir, Cohen’s life transforms from the mundane to the electrifying. What starts as just another freelance job ends in an investigation of the technologies that mediate our collective fears and desires. Delving deep into the semantic web of our networked lives, Cohen pushes the reader into the wasteland of our abbreviated vocabulary, one SQL (structured query language) at a time. VERDICT Much like Cohen’s previous work, this densely packed narrative will appeal to readers with an appreciation for experimental fiction and the ever-expanding limits of language.