BOOKS

theMystery.doc

Matthew McIntosh

RRP: £25.00

5 October 2017

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611856200

RRP: £11.99

5 October 2017

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611859522

Rooted in the western United States in the decade post-9/11, theMystery.doc follows a young writer and his wife as he attempts to write his second book, a national epic he hopes will last forever, and as he searches for a form that will express the world as it has become, revealing the interconnectedness of all our lives.

Pop-up ads, internet search results, spam, lines of code, frames of film and television mix with canonical works of literature, alchemical manuscripts, transcripts of personal conversations, and the story of a man who wakes up one morning not knowing who he is, a blank document called themystery.doc newly appeared on his computer.

Part love story, part prose poem, part documentary, part existential whodunit, part future-fiction, part Bildungsroman, part memoir, theMystery.doc is about the quest to find something lasting in a world where everything is in danger of slipping away. Love, loss, birth, death, technology, terrorism and the American Dream come together to form a great symphonic work that dazzles in both its structure and in its deep emotional resonance.

REVIEWS

Glued precariously together from the documentary fragments of a shattered culture and a fractured psyche, as with Eliot's Wasteland, Matthew McIntosh's huge and riveting theMystery.doc stakes out its territory in the unbroken ground of a new and unsettling American century. Haunted the same way that contemporary life is haunted - by snapshots and forgotten emails; scraps of dialogue and movie stills - this brave and massively accomplished book is both a savage exorcism and a dazzling celebration of the novel and the human heart, each with their endless possibilities. A transfixing statement in a shimmering new language.
Alan Moore

theMystery.doc may seem capacious but is actually sly, shy, and precise, and Matthew McIntosh is ambitious in the good sense: he attempts something new, with new vitality, and at that, absolutely succeeds.
Rachel Kushner