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The Unknownsby Gabriel Roth
Synopses & Reviews
Eric Muller has been trying to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. As a teenage geek, he discovered his gift for programming computers-but his attempts to understand women only confirm that he's better at writing code than connecting with human beings. Brilliant, neurotic, and lonely, Eric spends high school in the solitary glow of a screen.
By his early twenties, Eric's talent has made him a Silicon Valley millionaire. He can coax girls into bed with ironic remarks and carefully timed intimacies, but hiding behind wit and empathy gets lonely, and he fears that love will always be out of reach.
So when Eric falls for the beautiful, fiercely opinionated Maya Marcom, and she miraculously falls for him too, he's in new territory. But the more he learns about his perfect girlfriend's unresolved past, the further Eric's obsessive mind spirals into confusion and doubt. Can he reconcile his need for order and logic with the mystery and chaos of love?
This brilliant debut ushers Eric Muller-flawed, funny, irresistibly endearing-into the pantheon of unlikely heroes. With an unblinking eye for the absurdities and horrors of contemporary life, Gabriel Roth gives us a hilarious and heartbreaking meditation on self consciousness, memory, and love.
"A geek turned dot-com millionaire tries to hack the irrational pathways of love in Roth's memorable debut. For high school computer nerd Eric Muller, discovering the opposite sex is a 'revelation.' Determined to apply the scientific method to landing a girl, he begins 'gathering data' on the opposite sex, only to have his embarrassing research exposed. After college, however, a Silicon Valley windfall gives Eric enough confidence and money to help even a geek get a girl into bed. But when Eric meets Maya, a reporter, real intimacy is complicated by Eric's attempts to 'solve' her unresolved past, putting his first real relationship at risk. This story is set in 2002, against the backdrop of the pending invasion of Iraq, with Americans at odds over an unknowable future, a subtle and illuminating parallel that underscores Eric's own uncertainty. Roth presents two narrative threads in alternating chapters and is equally adept at inhabiting both adolescent Eric and the smoother adult he becomes. Wry observational humor and captivating internal monologues make this promising new voice reminiscent of Ben Lerner and Joshua Ferris. Agent: Anna Stein, Aitken Alexander Associates. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Gabriel Roth was born and raised in London and educated at Brown University and at San Francisco State University, from which he received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. For several years he was employed as a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He now works as a writer and software developer and lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York. THE UNKNOWNS is his first novel.
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