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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Book Review: "Meatspace" by Nikesh Shukla

meatspace: the physical world as opposed to cyberspace or a physical environment.

Unemployed, a struggling writer, and recently separated from his girlfriend, life isn’t going to plan for Kitab Balasubramanyam. When a young man with the same name tracks him down at a reading and insists that they are meant to be friends, who is he to disagree?

In this hilariously off the wall novel, Nikesh Shukla explores our worrying obsession with social media. As a novelist with one book out, who should be spending more time writing and less time composing witty tweets, Kitab is obsessed with monitoring his online profiles. One cannot help by wonder how much the author is drawing on his own experience (Meatspace is Shukla’s second novel).

When Kitab 2 turns up, Kitab is led into a series of funny and outrageous situations (tweeting pictures of genitals and sex clubs may be involved), but as his namesake’s behaviour becomes more disturbing the reader starts to recognize the danger of a world in which we can share everything about ourselves with the internet.

This novel is a timely examination of the age of self-promotion and the danger of being absorbed by the digital world at the expense of living a real life with real people. The ending provides an excellent twist in the plot which adds unexpected weight and meaning to the story. Meatspace is a clever novel about how technology often perpetuates our loneliness and isolation.

Buy the book: Meatspace

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