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No One Is Talking About This
Cover of No One Is Talking About This
No One Is Talking About This
A Novel
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE 
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
  
“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.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE 
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
  
“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.
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  • From the cover

    Part One

    She opened the portal, and the mind met her more than halfway. Inside, it was tropical and snowing, and the first flake of the blizzard of everything landed on her tongue and melted.

    Close-ups of nail art, a pebble from outer space, a tarantula’s compound eyes, a storm like canned peaches on the surface of Jupiter, Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters, a chihuahua perched on a man’s erection, a garage door -spray-painted with the words STOP! DON’T EMAIL MY WIFE!

    Why did the portal feel so private, when you only entered it when you needed to be everywhere?

     

    She felt along the solid green marble of the day for the hairline crack that might let her out. This could not be forced. Outside, the air hung swagged and the clouds sat in piles of couch stuffing, and in the south of the sky there was a tender spot, where a rainbow wanted to happen.

    Then three sips of coffee, and a window opened.

     

    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.

     

    Capitalism! It was important to hate it, even though it was how you got money. Slowly, slowly, she found herself moving toward a position so philosophical even Jesus couldn’t have held it: that she must hate capitalism while at the same time loving film montages set in department stores.

     

    Politics! The trouble was that they had a dictator now, which, according to some people (white), they had never had before, and according to other people (everyone else), they had only ever been having, constantly, since the beginning of the world. Her stupidity panicked her, as well as the way her voice now sounded when she talked to people who hadn’t stopped being stupid yet.

    The problem was that the dictator was very funny, which had maybe always been true of all dictators. Absurdism, she thought. Suddenly all those Russian novels where a man turns into a teaspoonful of blackberry jam at a country house began to make sense.

     

    What had the beautiful thought been, the bright profundity she had roused herself to write down? She opened her notebook with the sense of anticipation she always felt on such -occasions—perhaps this would finally be it, the one they would chisel on her gravestone. It read:

    chuck e cheese can munch a hole in my -youknow-what

     

    After you died, she thought as she carefully washed her legs under the fine needles of water, for she had recently learned that some people didn’t, you would see a little pie chart that told you how much of your life had been spent in the shower arguing with people you had never met. Oh but like that was somehow less worthy than spending your time carefully monitoring the thickness of beaver houses for signs of the severity of the coming winter?

     

    Was she stimming?? She feared very much that she was.

     

    Things that were always there:

    The sun.

    Her body, and the barest riffling at the roots of her hair.

    An almost music in the air, unarranged and primary and swirling, like yarns laid out in their colors waiting.

    The theme song of a childhood show where mannequins came to life at night in a department store.

    Anonymous History Channel footage of gray millions on the march, -shark-snouted airplanes, silk deployments of missiles, mushroom clouds.

    An episode of True Life about a girl who liked to oil herself up, get into a pot with assorted vegetables, and pretend that cannibals were going to eat her. Sexually.

    The almost-formed...

About the Author-
  • Patricia Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and raised in all the worst cities of the Midwest. She is the author of two poetry collections, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, a New York Times Notable Book, and the memoir Priestdaddy, which was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review. Lockwood's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and the London Review of Books, where she is a contributing editor.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 9, 2020
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Patricia Lockwood's fragmentary, kaleidoscopic novel about life in the Internet age is expertly rendered by Kristen Sieh. The funny, moving, and profane tale features an unnamed star of social media who spends her time posting and scrolling in the hive mind of the web--which she calls "the portal"--where "the only thing that bound us together was the belief that in other countries they eat unspeakable food." Then a family crisis jerks her out of the "rapacious indifference and vacant avidity" that characterizes the portal and drops her into the real world of needy living humans. Sieh's clarity, audible smiles, and raised-eyebrow-irony, along with perfect timing on the tumbling witticisms, enhance this inventive consideration of the human connection. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
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No One Is Talking About This
A Novel
Patricia Lockwood
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