The Candy House

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The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is 40, with four kids, restless, desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. It’s 2010. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.

In spellbinding interlocking narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also extraordinarily moving, a testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption. In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter and a chapter of tweets.


Library Journal, 1/1/22 (starred review)

“A forceful, wonderfully fragmented novel of a terrifyingly possible future, as intellectually rigorous as it is formally impressive, and yet another monumental work from Egan.”

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Kirkus Reviews, 12/24/21 (starred review)

“A thrilling, endlessly stimulating work that demands to be read and reread.

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Publisher’s Weekly, 12/23/21 (starred review)

“Egan returns to the fertile territory and characters of A Visit from the Goon Squad with an electrifying and shape-shifting story that one-ups its Pulitzer-winning predecessor.”

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Early reviews and 2022 projections for The Candy House, 1/3/22

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Star Tribune, 12/31/21

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Fortune, 12/31/21

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Seattle Times, 12/31/21

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Daily Mail, 12/30/21

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BBC News, 12/28/21

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Time Magazine, 12/16/21

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The New Yorker Q&A, 12/27/21

The author discusses “What the Forest Remembers,” her story from the latest issue of the magazine.

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