by Tory Henwood Hoen
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 10 Feb 2022
Atlantic Books, Corvus
35-year-old Ursula Byrne is successful, witty, smart, and single. She's tried all the dating apps, and let's just say: she's underwhelmed by her options.
Enter The Arc
A mysterious, super-sophisticated matchmaking service that relies on a complex series of emotional, psychological and physiological assessments. The price tag is high, the promise ambitious- you get one match, and one match only. Because one is all you need for a partnership that will go the distance.
Is this a date with destiny? Or with data?
Ursula is paired with 42-year-old lawyer Rafael Banks, and from the start, this feels like the electric, lasting love they've each been seeking their whole adult lives. But as their relationship unfolds in unanticipated ways, the two begin to question The Arc's legitimacy.
After all, the arc of a relationship is never predictable ... even when it's fully optimized. Or is it?
'An incisive, inventive, probing portrait of a modern relationship featuring remarkably well-drawn characters that readers will champion and adore. Hoen's clever, original debut is as hilarious as it is heartwarming.' Carola Lovering, author of Too Good to be True
'You don't expect a razor-sharp satire to satisfy so deeply on an emotional level, but The Arc does that and more: Tory Henwood Hoen brings humor, wit and brutal honesty to start-up culture, relationships and human frailty in this riveting debut.' Alexandra Andrews, author of Who is Maud Dixon
'Tory Hoen has the rare combination of a satirists eye and a romantics soul. Populated though it may be with biz-whiz types, lifestyle apps, and start-up schemes, The Arc is, at its heart, about the inimitable qualities that make us human. Clear off space on your shelf of contemporary favorites for this timeless love story wrapped in a timely, funny portrait of modern society.' Mary Laura Philpott, author of I Miss You When I Blink
'A zeitgeisty and hopeful page-turner that proves neither algorithms nor big data can keep the heart from wanting what it wants.' Courtney Maum, author of Touch and Costalegre
'Whether she's skewering mediocre start-up bros or the absurdities of twenty-first century 'self-care,' there's nothing about the way we live now that escapes Hoen's gaze. A hilarious and thoughtful exploration of love in a culture obsessed with optimization, The Arc is a dazzling debut.' Grant Ginder, author of People We Hate at the Wedding
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
This book was such a refreshing and realistic take on 21st century relationships - in a world where apps just aren't cutting it anymore, The ARC steps in to be the modern day relationship architect.
This book was really well written, and felt like a really well thought out, deep dive into these great characters. I loved the dynamics between friends, couples, and even strangers at times - I really felt I knew these people. As a dog person, I feel I have betrayed myself with how much I fell in love with mallory... she's just a great character and was not expecting the cat to give me such heart failure as the general plot lines!
I wish I could fall into this world - where people I dated magically had 20 pints of ice cream in their freezer, and places like the Stake existed for me to go to regularly (using a smash centre sounds like a great afternoon.)
My one critique would be the lack of intimacy, I often felt I was reading a YA with all the cut to black scenes. But these were 30/40 year old people having great depth of relationships and the more romantic aspects at times felt slightly left out.
Overall still a great read, and a new author for me to keep my eye on!
This was such a refreshing, quick, easy and riveting read, I read it in one sitting. It is really well written with well developed characters that you cant help taking to your heart. I really enjoyed it
This took a little while for me to get in to, then when I did, I could not put it down.
Ursula and Rafael are 2 unusual and vivid characters and their journey is interesting. A unique concept that challenges the reader and the characters in it.
Fun, an easy read (in a good way), great escapism.
The ARC is a hilarious love story filled to the brim with satire. A truly satisfying and uncommon match of concepts that truly works. A little bit of sci-fi, a touch of dystopia, a slightly (but not quite) futuristic romance, focused on the architecture of modern relationships.
We follow the story of Ursula and Rafael, two individuals ready for a long term commitment, but who have struggled with relationships in the past. Both discover a cult-like service called The Arc, which promises, through the use of state of the art technology and an array of secretive proprietary services, to find them their 100% ideal partner. It's not about finding the perfect match, but someone that will be perfect for the long term - on the entire arc of their lives.
They are a bit sceptical at first, however, after their initial meeting the energy between them is out of this world. They immediately dive into a relationship, both feel they have never encountered someone so amazing, so incredible, so exactly who they were trying to find the entire time. That is until The Arc comes back to them saying they've made a terrible mistake.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, comparisons with Black Mirror's Hang the Dj will be inevitable, and, if you have watched that episode it will be easy enough to draw a conclusion and understand what is happening with Ursula and Rafael's relationship. I still found the narrative interesting enough, and the book truly shines while painting a caricature of modern-day New York City in a not so distant future. The journey, the quirky writing, and the overall style of The Arc are where the uniqueness of the book comes in - not its plot.
I do think the end was a bit underdeveloped. At the same time that it feels like it gave too many explanations about what happened (it was easy enough to guess and perhaps it would have been better to leave an air of doubt), it took away the gratification of having a more meaningful reconnection for the beloved couple.
As a debut novel, I was very intrigued by this book and will definitely keep a close eye on Tory Henwood Hoen and whatever else she writes in the future.
It's well-written, with lots of rich detail and robust characterisation. Unfortunately I just couldn't get into it, but I'll try again in the future when I'm in a different headspace. The Arc: it's not you, it's me.
A hilarious and thoughtful exploration of love in a culture obsessed with optimization, This was a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish with a great storyline, interesting cast of characters and all capped off by skilful writing. It's well worth your time if you appreciate great storytellers.
35-year-old Ursula Byrne, VP of Strategic Audacity at a branding agency in Manhattan, is successful, witty, whip-smart, and single. She's tried all the dating apps, and let's just say: she's underwhelmed by her options. You'd think that by now someone would have come up with something more bespoke; a way for users to be more tailored about who and what they want in a life partner--how hard could that be? Enter The Arc: a highly secretive, super-sophisticated matchmaking service that uses a complex series of emotional, psychological and physiological assessments to architect partnerships that will go the distance. The price tag is high, the promise ambitious--a level of lifelong compatibility that would otherwise be unattainable. In other words, The Arc will find your ideal mate. Ursula is paired with 42-year-old lawyer Rafael Banks. From moment one, this feels like the electric, lasting love they've each been seeking their whole adult lives. But as their relationship unfolds in unanticipated ways, the two begin to realize that true love is never a sure thing. And the arc of a relationship is never predictable...even when it's fully optimized.
I absolutely loved reading this book. I don’t usually read romance books, but this one grabbed my attention as it was to do with online dating and this is something I haven’t came across in a book yet.
When Ursula and Rafael were matched and met in real life, they pretty much fell in love straight away. Everything seems to be going really well until they have an appointment with ‘The Arc’ and they are told that there was a mistake made when matching them. The couple are then given a choice to break up and have a full refund or to stay together even though they are not perfectly matched by The Arc. They decide to stay together as they feel like The Arc must be wrong as they feel like they are a perfect match, this then obviously causes some tension and pressure on their relationship. I found this very gripping as I wanted to know what would happen next – was The Arc wrong and do they truly belong together or is The Arc right and how will their rocky relationship turn out.
This is an extremely fast paced book which keeps you gripped from the beginning right to the end. I love the twists and how certain events pan out. It is truly a unique book and nothing quite like I have ever read before.