No one is talking about this

Patricia Lockwood

Book - 2021

"From "a formidably gifted writer" (The New York Times Book Review), a book that asks: Is there life after the internet? As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms "the portal," where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now ...dictating her thoughts. When existential threats--from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness--begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal's void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. "Are we in hell?" the people of the portal ask themselves. "Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?" Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: "Something has gone wrong," and "How soon can you get here?" As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary"--

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Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
New York : Riverhead Books 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
210 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780593189580
0593189582
Main Author
Patricia Lockwood (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In this first novel from poet and memoirist Lockwood (Priestdaddy, 2017), an unnamed woman practically lives in the portal, which is something like the internet. A viral post—Can a dog be twins?—lent her a certain airy prominence, and now she speaks about the portal on panels all over the world. On the top of a Ferris wheel in Vienna, she receives a text that sends her back home to Ohio: concerning information has appeared late in her younger sister's pregnancy. So begins the book's part two, and the first stirrings of a conventional plot. Lockwood's narration of the woman's thoughts propels this provocative, addictive, and unusual novel. The book's first half is filled with her darkly irreverent, mordant musings on the portal and how it got to this, a screen-addled situation that sounds much like our own. After the revelation, though, the scroll of posts and memes is replaced by another unfathomable yet recognizable place, one of sickness, doctors' best guesses, and a crystalline hope for survival; it's like a stream rushing to an ocean. With unfettered, imagistic language, Lockwood conjures both a digital life that's easily fallen into, and the sorts of love and grief that can make it all fall away. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Having suddenly gained fame on social media, a woman traveling worldwide to meet her worshipful fans comes to believe that all the voices bubbling up from this vast portal, as she calls it, are dictating her thoughts. Then she gets an urgent call from her mother, as stark reality and internet-fueled surreality collide. From the author of the memoir Priestdaddy, a New York Times best book. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Lockwood's debut novel comes packed with the humor, bawdiness, and lyrical insight that buoyed her memoir Priestdaddy. The unnamed narrator—made famous by a viral post that read, "Can a dog be twins"—travels the world to speak on panels, where she explains such things as why it's better to use the spelling "sneazing" (it's "objectively funnier"). While in Vienna for a conference, her mother urges her to come home to Ohio, where the narrator's younger sister is having complications with her pregnancy and may need a late-term abortion. There, in the book's shimmering second half, the internet jokes continue between the sisters as a means of coping with uncertainty, and resonate with the theme of life's ephemerality vs. the internet's infinitude. Throughout, a fragmented style captures and sometimes elevates a series of text messages and memes amid the meditations on family ("I'm convinced the world is getting too full lol, her brother texted her, the one who obliterated himself at the end of every day with a personal comet called Fireball"). This mighty novel screams with laughter just as it wallops with grief. Agent: Mollie Glick, Creative Arts Agency. (Feb.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Elevated to prominence for her social-media posts, a woman begins suffering from existential anxieties while learning the languages, customs and fears of her fans throughout the world, before an urgent text from home transforms her virtual perspectives.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From "a formidably gifted writer" (The New York Times Book Review), a book that asks: Is there life after the internet? As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms "the portal," where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats--from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness--begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal's void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate toform a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. "Are we in hell?" the people of the portal ask themselves. "Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?" Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: "Something has gonewrong," and "How soon can you get here?" As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

FINALIST FOR THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE & A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOK OF 2021  “A book that reads like a prose poem, at once sublime, profane, intimate, philosophical, witty and, eventually, deeply moving.” —New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice “Wow. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much reading a book. What an inventive and startling writer…I’m so glad I read this. I really think this book is remarkable.” —David Sedaris  From "a formidably gifted writer" (The New York Times Book Review), a book that asks: Is there life after the internet?As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms "the portal," where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats--from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness--begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal's void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. "Are we in hell?" the people of the portal ask themselves. "Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?"Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: "Something has gone wrong," and "How soon can you get here?" As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.