Loneliness & Company A novel

Charlee Dyroff

Book - 2024

"A...novel set in near future New York about a young woman who finds herself tangled in a secret government project combating loneliness"--

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FICTION/Dyroff Charlee
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1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Dyroff Charlee (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 11, 2024
Thrillers (Fiction)
Psychological fiction
New York : Bloomsbury Publishing 2024.
Main Author
Charlee Dyroff (author)
Physical Description
xiii, 270 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Lee has dedicated her entire career to public service. In the dystopian future U.S. where she lives, certain jobs are determined by government placement. Successful in tech, Lee is shocked when, rather than being placed in a well-known organization, she is assigned to a new AI startup focused on creating artificial friendship. The office is headquartered in New York City, a shell of its former self after flooding forced most residents out of the metropolis. In this urban playground ghost town, Lee comes to realize that the artificial companionship project is about more than digital friends; it's about tackling an old-world concept called loneliness. Lee, it turns out, was specially chosen for the position because of her past experience with loneliness (or lack thereof). Dyroff's debut is fun to read, taking place in a world that's entertaining to ponder: what will our priorities be after the full AI renaissance? Dyroff is beyond imaginative, specifically so in building a world that's just close enough to present reality. Perfect for fans of Dave Eggers' The Circle.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Dyroff debuts with an inventive dystopian novel set in a near future where human interactions are automated and America's center of gravity has shifted from the coasts to the middle of the country. Lee, 27, graduates at the top of her class in a Minneapolis-based career placement program, expecting to land a job with one of the nation's leading tech companies headquartered in the Midwest. Instead, her dreams are quashed and she's sent to run-down New York City, where the historic financial district is now underwater, to work for an unknown outfit secretly programming a virtual friend named Vicky. There, Lee keeps to herself and doesn't even bother to learn her co-workers' names. Eventually, the company's leaders explain their real goal: to address the problem of loneliness, an emotion supposedly removed from the Emotional Index several decades earlier but still plaguing people. When Lee realizes she's more successful in training Vicky based on her own firsthand observations of human interactions than on researching what friendship used to be like, she tries to overcome her own sense of isolation by going on dates. The novel's view of the future is particularly distinct in its depictions of dating life; there's only one app, called Dating, and it requires users to select from predictive text when filling out their profiles. Dyroff also nails the ways in which single-minded ambition can obscure opportunities for connection. This brims with clear insight and unsettling visions of the world to come. Agent: Danielle Bukowski, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)

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