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Transmissionby Hari Kunzru
Synopses & Reviews
When Hari Kunzru's eagerly awaited first novel, The Impressionist, was published, it was lauded and celebrated worldwide. In that rich, wry debut, Kunzru probed the realms of culture and identity through a savvy boy's attempts to reconcile the roles of his British father and his passionate Indian mother. Now, in Transmission, Kunzru takes an ultra-contemporary turn while introducing another tragicomic protagonist: an Indian computer programmer whose luxurious fantasies about life in America are shaken when he accepts a California job offer.
Lonely and naive, Arjun bides his time as an assistant virus tester, pining for a free-loving looker named Christine and building digital creatures in a feeble attempt to enhance his job security. But, like so many of his Silicon Valley peers, Arjun gets fired. In an act of innocent desperation to keep his job and the woman he loves, he releases a mischievous and destructive virus around the globe. World order unravels, as does Arjun's sanity, in a rollicking cataclysm that even manages to involve Bollywood — and, not so coincidentally, the glamorous star of Arjun's favorite Indian movie.
As stylish, perceptive, and wicked as the writings of his ranking contemporaries Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer, Transmission brilliantly proves that Hari Kunzru is an author with limitless imaginative skill and boundless storytelling talent.
"With this taut and entertaining novel, London native Kunzru paints a satirized but unsettlingly familiar tableau, in which his alienated characters communicate via e-mail jokes and emote through pop culture, all the while dreaming of frothy lattes and designer labels. Arjun Mehta is an Indian computer programmer and Bollywood buff who comes to the U.S. with big dreams, but finds neither the dashing romance nor the heroic ending of his favorite movies — just a series of crushing disappointments. When he is told he will lose his job at the global security software company and thus may have to return to India, Arjun develops and secretly releases a nasty computer virus, hoping that he can impress his boss into hiring him back when he 'finds' the cure. Arjun's desperate measures are, of course, far reaching, eventually affecting the lives of Guy Swift, an English new money entrepreneur; his girlfriend, Gabriella; and the young Indian movie star Leela Zahir. Kunzru weaves their narratives adroitly, finding humor and pathos in his misguided characters, all the while nipping savagely at consumer culture and the executives who believe in 'the emotional magma that wells from the core of planet brand.' While Guy Swift creates a marketing campaign for border police that imagines Europe as an 'upscale, exclusive continent,' Arjun Mehta is fighting to keep his scrap of the American dream. Kunzru's first novel, The Impressionist, was received enthusiastically (it was shortlisted for numerous awards, and won quite a few others, including the Somerset Maugham Award), and this follow-up will not disappoint fans of his stirring social commentary. Agent, Emma Parry. (June) Forecast: This second novel may not receive the barrage of coverage and buzz the first did (that would be nearly impossible), but sales should hold steady as readers discover that Kunzru is no one-hit wonder." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Transmission's] antic vision of an all-too-easily imperiled global village has enough charm and bite to engage us all. An interesting successor to Kunzru's now-famous first novel." Kirkus Reviews
"Good-humored even when it overheats into a conspiracy-theory finale, Transmission potently reaffirms this author's initial promise." The New York Times
"You don't have to read too much of Hari Kunzru's second novel before you realise you are in safe hands: a slick aphoristic joke; a neat turn of phrase; a truth that makes you laugh. Transmission is essentially a comic novel....[A] thoroughly engrossing entertainment." Literary Review
"[Kunzru's] sly wit...makes Transmission a challenging, sophisticated and enjoyable fiction. It will be more than usually interesting to see what Hari Kunzru does next." Times Literary Supplement
"Kunzru flits dexterously between Guy's bullish hubris and Arjun's desperate toils, creating a sharp snapshot of a heady time....Kunzru's engagingly wired prose and agile plotting sweep all before them, as the characters career toward ruin." New Yorker
In Transmission, award-winning writer Hari Kunzru takes an ultra-contemporary turn with the story of an Indian computer programmer whose luxurious fantasies about life in America are shaken when he accepts a California job offer.
Lonely and naïve, Arjun spends his days as a lowly assistant virus- tester, pining away for his free-spirited colleague Christine. Arjun gets laid off like so many of his Silicon Valley peers, and in an act of desperation to keep his job, he releases a mischievous but destructive virus around the globe that has major unintended consequences. As world order unravels, so does Arjun’s sanity, in a rollicking cataclysm that reaches Bollywood and, not so coincidentally, the glamorous star of Arjun’s favorite Indian movie.
Award-winning writer Kunzru takes an ultra-contemporary turn with the story of an Indian computer programmer whose luxurious fantasies about life in America are shaken when he accepts a California job offer.
About the Author
Hari Kunzru is a freelance journalist and editor who has written for numerous international publications, including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Economist, and Wired. In 1999, the Observer named him "Young Travel Writer of the Year." He lives in London.
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