A book that asks: Is there life after the internet?
As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms the portal, where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats-from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness-begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal's void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. Are we in hell? the people of the portal ask themselves. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?
Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: Something has gone wrong, and How soon can you get here? As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.
Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.
Patricia Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and raised in all the worst cities of the Midwest. She is the author of two poetry collections, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, a New York Times Notable Book, and the memoir Priestdaddy, which was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review. Lockwood's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and the London Review of Books, where she is a contributing editor.
"One of the most incisive observers of the spectacle of digital discourse . . . Lockwood is a sharp and often funny social critic. She writes wisely of the emotionally labile landscape of the internet . . . many of her images are evocative and often beautiful . . . More inventive than lapidary, Ms. Lockwood's style is artful without being precious . . . What begins as an ironical story about irony becomes an intimate and moving portrait of love and grief. In this way, a novel that had been toying with the digital surface of modern life finds the tender heart pumping away beneath it all." - Emily Bobrow, The Wall Street Journal
"Lockwood is sending a bulletin from the future . . . [She] has set out to portray not merely a mind through language, as Joyce did, but what she calls 'the mind, ' the molting collective consciousness that has melded with her protagonist's singular one . . . Lockwood gets it right, mimicking the medium while shrewdly parodying its ethos . . . God, is she funny! . . . Lockwood's conceit is smart, her prose original, hugely entertaining and witty . . . a powerful, paradoxical observation about what digital platforms take from us . . . Lockwood's own writing takes on new depth and a more focussed, richer beauty as her protagonist gets farther from the portal and deeper into the tangible present . . . Lockwood's writing grows radiant . . . it is a story, simply, about love, selfless and delighted." - Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
"Reading Patricia Lockwood raises questions. Questions such as, How can a person understand both herself and the world with such clarity? How does a person experience things so intensely and express them so buoyantly? Am I laughing or am I crying? Lockwood's first novel is as crystalline, witty, and brain-shredding as her poetry and criticism." - Molly Young, Vulture
"[Lockwood is] a master of startling concision when highlighting the absurdities we've grown too lazy to notice . . . It's a vertiginous experience, gorgeously rendered but utterly devastating. I rattled around the house for days afterwards, shattered but grateful for the reminder that the ephemeral world we've constructed online is a shadow compared to the pain and affection we're blessed to experience in real life." - Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Wow. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much reading a book. What an inventive and startling writer. Patricia Lockwood is a little like George Saunders in that she can write abstract characters and still make them real, and not just clever arrangements of words. Like Lorrie Moore she somehow crafts a devastating story out of jokes. I'm so glad I read this. I really think this book is remarkable." - David Sedaris, author of Calypso
"Lockwood is a modern word witch, her writing splendid and sordid by turns . . . The chief virtue of the novel is how it transforms all that is ugly and cheap about online culture [...] into an experience of sublimity." - New York Times Book Review
"Weird, slyly sophisticated humor, and a deep commitment to the profane as a tool for revelation and critique, are hallmarks of Lockwood's style . . . Despite her concerns about the individual mind's dilution in the great tidal insanity of Online Discourse, Lockwood is a stylist who only ever sounds like herself . . . [she speaks] the language of the zeitgeist and [knifes] the zeitgeist's heart in the same gesture--her ability to win at both humor and lacerating critique . . . a grand success." - The Atlantic