Thursday, January 18 at 7 PM
Hello, West Portal!
Happy New Year to you all!
Thank you for making our holiday season a success!
We got our 2018 events season off to a great start with Georgia Hunter last week.
(We still have a few signed copies of We Were the Lucky Ones at the store, BTW.)
Now, I'm not a big fan of self congratulation, but I think the authors and events we have scheduled for this January rival any events program anywhere.
I am especially excited about this next event. I have been a die-hard fan of Nick Harkaway since before his debut novel was published. His work is whip-smart, quirky, funny, speculative, and very British. Not coincidentally, the author is British. He is, in fact, the son of John Le Carré. Perhaps that makes him the Joe Hill of England - except he doesn't write like a clone of his dad.
Anyway, Nick Harkaway is coming over all the way from London, and that would be exciting enough - but I discovered that the wonderful Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough) is as big an uber-fan of Nick's work as I am. Robin enthusiastically accepted my invitation to join Nick in conversation.
In addition to being a great novelist, Robin Sloan is one hell of an interviewer. This is going to be awesome!
The novel they will be discussing is Gnomon, Nick's fourth after The Gone-Away World, Angelmaker, and Tigerman.
It has received three out of three starred reviews in the publishing trades. Publishers Weekly wrote:
Harkaway's inventive, mind-bending, and mesmerizing novel interweaves a detective story set in the future with disparate tales of a Carthaginian alchemist, a Greek investment banker, and an Ethiopian painter. Harkaway imagines London in the not-too-distant future as a city where technology meets all security, medical, transportation, informational, and scheduling needs; facilitates democratic decision-making, and monitors emotional well-being. When 61-year-old refusenik Diana Hunter (she prefers books to electronics) dies in custody, Insp. Mielikki Neith investigates. Using the Witness machine to examine Hunter's last thoughts, Neith discovers a puzzling mix of narratives: the story of alchemist Athenais Karthagonensis, Saint Augustine's former lover, kidnapped and taken to the Chamber of Isis; the adventures of Constantine Kyriakos, a financial shark who gains wealth and fame after a near-fatal encounter with an actual shark; and the recollections of Berihun Bekele, a painter from Addis Ababa who comes out of retirement to create artwork for his granddaughter, the designer of a computer game so powerful the British government wants to buy her company. As Neith separates clues from red herrings, Harkaway (Tigerman) reveals a digital dystopia of constant communication, information saturation, and diminishing humanity. Literary spelunkers in particular will enjoy decrypting his social science fiction, rich in literary, historical, and pop culture references and laced with humor and linguistic sleight of hand.
I know what you're thinking...Why haven't I heard of this guy? I don't know. Nick Harkaway has a cult status on this side of the pond, and I'm on a mission to share his work with as many readers as possible. I hope that you can come this Thursday, January 18th at 7:00PM. Join Robin and I among the cognoscente. You'll thank me!
Bookshop West Portal
80 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127