The Candy House

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Pub Date 28 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 28 Apr 2022

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From one of the most dazzling and iconic writers of our time comes an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity, privacy, and meaning in a world where our memories are no longer our own--featuring characters from A Visit from the Goon Squad.

It's 2010. Staggeringly successful and brilliant tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton is desperate for a new idea. He's forty, with four kids, and restless when he stumbles into a conversation with mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or "externalising" memory. 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 linked narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling and extraordinarily moving, The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away. With a focus on social media, gaming, and alternate worlds, you can almost experience moving among dimensions in a role-playing game. Egan takes her "deeply intuitive forays into the darker aspects of our technology-driven, image-saturated culture" (Vogue) to stunning new heights and delivers a fierce and exhilarating testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption.


From one of the most dazzling and iconic writers of our time comes an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity...

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ISBN 9781472150912
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Featured Reviews

A revelation. An engrossing read, intellectually stimulating and thoroughly entertaining novel. I found myself moved almost to tears, and laughing out loud whilst reading The Candy House, a title which kept me wondering in the best possible way. There are three references to candy in the book, and all three are of course pertinent to the narrative... a narrative which does not have a starting point and a final destination per se (although there is a gathering of strands). The novel is a series of self-contained chapters which move in time not chronologically from the 1960s to 2040 or so and posit a post social-media society which has gone deeper into other forms of technological connectivity and accessing (via externalisation!) of memories, personal or collective... characters appear, disappear, reappear... stories are pursued, abandoned, recalled...
This reader found herself caught in the particular problems/stories presented from the very beginning, and did not mind when they were followed by an apparently unconnected chapter written in a totally different tone, from a different viewpoint. The quirky writing kept me on board, online, on pointe.... I was trying to use my own brain to remember the difference between the Mandala and Mondrian organisations.... who was who in the scheme of things... Bix Bouton's technological genius v Miranda Kline's theoretical insights (both finding solutions in unlikely places), Lulu, Ames, Hannah, Jocelyn, Chris, Colin, JoJo.... the gallery of characters is big and memorable (Lulu is a favourite, as is Salazar's grandmother), the range of relationships and psychologies, equally so, the dilemmas (personal, societal, political) important, poignant, yet everything presented in what I can only describe as absorbingly interesting, never boring and always with a hint of (or full-on!) humour, with many a slight of hand. This house of candy, is very very attractive, dangerously so. Totally worth reading and pondering about.

With many thanks to the publishers via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this great novel.

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I'm writing this review in-between bouts of screaming because this book is so good I can't stop screaming.

How. Does. She. Do. This.

A swirling array of voices that carry you along so fast you almost can't keep up, but you do because it's rich and glorious and smart, and oh my god, this book. It's a matryoshka doll of a novel, but the dolls are worlds, and they are colliding and splintering and, oh my god, this book.

It's human beings banging into each other, looking for connection, fucking up, being alive.


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I absolutely loved this novel. Although I had read A Visit From The Goon Squad 11 years ago, I didn’t remember it and the characters that reappeared here weren’t familiar to me but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment at all. This is more a breadcrumb trail than a novel, a series of interconnected short stories leading you on to the next one, reintroducing characters along the way over the course of many decades and only at the very end bringing us somewhere close to where we started. There are a dizzying array of styles and character viewpoints used here and I’m glad I could read it quickly as it’s a lot to keep in your head but it’s an exhilarating ride. Highly recommended and thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Where to start? Fans of A Visit From the Goon Squad will not be disappointed (in fact a few of the characters from that book do pop up here - though I don't think it's necessary to read it first).

This is a big, rambling beautifully complex book which does a LOT of jumping back and forth through time and place. Characters are linked, crossover and intersect throughout the book and each chapter is told from the POV of a different person. The main overarching theme - a tech entrepreneur who has invented a means to download and store personal memories to a giant linked database that anyone can access - allows Egan to explore love, family, connection and the impact that technology is bringing to all of us.

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