Book of Numbers: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VULTURE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE WALL STREET JOURNAL • A monumental, uproarious, and exuberant novel about the search—for love, truth, and the meaning of Life With The Internet.
“More impressive than all but a few novels published so far this decade . . . a wheeling meditation on the wired life, on privacy, on what being human in the age of binary code might mean . . . [Joshua] Cohen, all of thirty-four, emerges as a major American writer.”—The New York Times
The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.
Insider tech exposé, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual.
Featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction, Book of Numbers is an epic of the digital age, a triumph of a new generation of writers, and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Please note that Book of Numbers uses a special pagination system inspired by binary notation: the part number precedes the page number, and is separated from it by a decimal point.
Praise for Book of Numbers
“The Great American Internet Novel is here. . . . Book of Numbers is a fascinating look at the dark heart of the Web. . . . A page-turner about life under the veil of digital surveillance . . . one of the best novels ever written about the Internet.”—Rolling Stone
“A startlingly talented novelist . . . [His] deeply rewarding novel is about an online religion gone wrong—and its importance lies in the fact that nearly all of us in the modernized world are members of that faith, whether we know it or not.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Remarkable . . . dazzling . . . Cohen’s literary gifts . . . suggest that something is possible, that something still might be done to safeguard whatever it is that makes us human.”—Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books
“A hugely ambitious novel set in the high-tech world of now . . . a verbal high-wire act, daring in its tones and textures: clever, poetic, fast-moving, deeply playful, filled with jokes, savvy about machines, wise about people, dazzling and engrossing.”—Colm Tóibín, The Guardian
“Joshua Cohen is the Great American Novelist. . . . Like Pynchon and Wallace, Cohen can write with tireless virtuosity about absolutely everything.”—Adam Kirsch, Tablet
“A digital-age Ulysses.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The next candidate for the Great American Novel . . . David Foster Wallace–level audacious.”—Details
“A brilliant book.”—The Boston Globe
From the Hardcover edition.
missed. The worst job a VC can have, to be the CV, meaning that if someone else ever makes bank on a prospect snubbed, get ready to update the résumé. So Tetration settles on his pile, meaning the partners had already passed and after this last review Tetration was reduce reuse recycled. But Dustin was a gamer. Dustin understood. It is not just math and science that are relational. We are sure the same must hold in its way for the humanities in which something in one context means something
“Is this your phone, Josh? It’s Finn,” “So this is the number Aaron gave me, just wondering if you’ve gotten any sense of the project timeline or maybe you’re already working?” “It’s your daily obscene phonecall from your editor, just wondering what you’re wearing and what the plans are if you’ve made them?” “Regrets OK if I’m wrongnumbering you but that’s the price of an automated greeting, or else OK if you’re there Josh I’m just going to have to conclude that your not picking up or ringing me
nearby Tianjin Trading Ltd., or Lucky Monkey Lumber & Millwork. I read a lot of news, which I liked to read because text, unlike newer media, didn’t tell me how to pronounce it: “Jamahiriya,” “Ansar al-Sharia”—the Arab Spring seemed an issue of Vogue, the Times was so into wiretaps and leaks it’d become an electrical or plumbing manual. I studied the techbooks, which had underlinings and highlightings and in one a frayed crocheted bookmark from what had to’ve been a little old lady striving to
gorgeously wed, facing me across the bed and quivering. She’d been gathering up her hem, and I circled around and helped her lift it over her head. All she had on underneath was her underwear, which was torture: iron maiden panties, spiked bra. She took my hands, and laughed, the laughter swollen, “Lentement.” Don’t worry—“Je ne vais pas hurt you! je ne pourrai jamais hurt you! No pain, no pain.” Her cheekwound blushed, and yet that blushing was also its bandage. Below the unmentionables she
redlit sesshs just lost and irretrievable. That is how we perceive that existence today, as like a vast unrecorded emptiness. We were not sleeping and not awake. We were convinced that we were writing everything wrong and had gotten everything uncombobulated, that we were writing the algy as like it were the businessplan, and writing the businessplan as like it were the algy. The algy a sequence of specific commands executing specific operations, the bplan a sequence of nonspecific goals and