Our Bookseller says:
“She could not feel her first fingertip. This in the way that your ear used to get soft, pink, and pliant, and the swirls of hair around it like damp designs, from talking on the telephone.”
Incisive, poetic lines like that abound in No One Is Talking About This, moments that capture the high cost of being online and the feral, childlike joy of it all despite that. The writing is mercurial, surreal, and frenetic, all the things a book about the epic highs (like finding out Ted Cruz liked porn on Twitter on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks) and lows (like finding out that a beloved celebrity is some sort of racist freak) of being online has to be.
No One Is Talking About This is more than a diatribe on the emptiness of social media or an exploration of meaning-making in the 21st century. It is the joy of stumbling upon the Wikipedia page for “fatberg” for the first time at 2 a.m. It is the horror of discovering why that one guy on DeviantArt is commissioning all that art of WonderBread. Whether we’re ready for it or not, Patricia Lockwood has written a book for the internet addicted, brain worm-riddled weirdos out there. Welcome to the dark carnival.
(By the way, I can’t wait to return to this time capsule of a book in five years’ time, older, wiser and doubtlessly still addicted to my phone. It’s such a hyper-relevant encapsulation of late 2010s-early 2020s online life that it could age like fine wine or just rot: there’s boundless potential energy in these pages.) — Terry
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.