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Publisher's Summary

A Best Science Fiction Book of 2017 - The Guardian

From the widely acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World and Tigerman, comes a virtuosic new novel set in a near-future, high-tech surveillance state that is equal parts dark comedy, gripping detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle.

In the world of Gnomon, citizens are constantly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of "transparency". Every action is seen, every word is recorded, and the System has access to its citizens' thoughts and memories - all in the name of providing the safest society in history.

When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody, it marks the first time a citizen has been killed during an interrogation. The System doesn't make mistakes, but something isn't right about the circumstances surrounding Hunter's death. Mielikki Neith, a trusted state inspector and a true believer in the System, is assigned to find out what went wrong. 

Immersing herself in neural recordings of the interrogation, what she finds isn't Hunter but rather a panorama of characters within Hunter's psyche: a lovelorn financier in Athens who has a mystical experience with a shark; a brilliant alchemist in ancient Carthage confronting the unexpected outcome of her invention; an expat Ethiopian painter in London designing a controversial new video game, and a sociopathic disembodied intelligence from the distant future. Embedded in the memories of these impossible lives lies a code which Neith must decipher to find out what Hunter is hiding. In the static between these stories, Neith begins to catch glimpses of the real Diana Hunter - and, alarmingly, of herself. The staggering consequences of what she finds will reverberate throughout the world.

A dazzling, panoramic achievement, and Nick Harkaway's most brilliant work to date, Gnomon is peerless and profound, captivating and irreverent, as it pierces through strata of reality and consciousness and illuminates how to set a mind free. It is a truly accomplished novel from a mind possessing a matchless wit infused with a deep humanity.

©2018 Nick Harkaway (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Gnomon is an extraordinary novel, and one I can’t stop thinking about some weeks after I read it. It is deeply troubling, magnificently strange, and an exhilarating read.” (Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven)

“Opening a novel by Nick Harkaway feels like stepping into a theme park for the mind - every page you turn brings new delights for the mind and the senses. Gnomon is brilliant and terrifying, full of pleasures big and small. Basically, everything I want in a book.” (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)

“Beguiling, multilayered, sprawling novel that blends elements of Philip K. Dick-tinged sci-fi, mystery, politics, and literary fiction in a most satisfying brew.... Fans of Pynchon and William Gibson alike will devour this smart, expertly written bit of literary subversion.” (Kirkus, starred review) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent, challenging, not a “beach read”

This book was everything I’ve grown to expect from Mr Harkaway, and far more. Gnomon is his most challenging novel yet, & well worth it if you’re willing to give it your full attention and stick with it. I say it that way because there are times when I just want lighter fare; something I can absorb while editing or doing chores around the house.

With Gnomon, I still did those tasks, and dog walking, etc - but I also often found myself scrolling back to fully take on board story information. Even so, I know a second read/ listen is going to divulge items I’ve probably missed in this go ‘round.

It’s a great multi-genre novel & one I’d highly recommend.

Major praise is also due to Mr Onwukwe for his performance which had to be difficult at times (must listen to fully understand). He has a rich, complex & often soothing vocal range which served the story & listener well. If I were to complain for a small reason, it would be his occasional lack of distinction between characters or story arcs. There are so many different arcs and time/scene “flashbacks” (for lack of a better term), and without those vocal cues, there were a few times when I didn’t realize we were in a different scene or moment.

That said, it is a quite long, very dense & substantial book & it’s a small complaint- the performance was still a five star affair.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark Hancock
  • 12-09-18

Excellent, challenging, not a “beach read”

This book was everything I’ve grown to expect from Mr Harkaway, and far more. Gnomon is his most challenging novel yet, & well worth it if you’re willing to give it your full attention and stick with it. I say it that way because there are times when I just want lighter fare; something I can absorb while editing or doing chores around the house.

With Gnomon, I still did those tasks, and dog walking, etc - but I also often found myself scrolling back to fully take on board story information. Even so, I know a second read/ listen is going to divulge items I’ve probably missed in this go ‘round.

It’s a great multi-genre novel & one I’d highly recommend.

Major praise is also due to Mr Onwukwe for his performance which had to be difficult at times (must listen to fully understand). He has a rich, complex & often soothing vocal range which served the story & listener well. If I were to complain for a small reason, it would be his occasional lack of distinction between characters or story arcs. There are so many different arcs and time/scene “flashbacks” (for lack of a better term), and without those vocal cues, there were a few times when I didn’t realize we were in a different scene or moment.

That said, it is a quite long, very dense & substantial book & it’s a small complaint- the performance was still a five star affair.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark Hancock
  • 12-09-18

Excellent, challenging, not a “beach read”

This book was everything I’ve grown to expect from Mr Harkaway, and far more. Gnomon is his most challenging novel yet, & well worth it if you’re willing to give it your full attention and stick with it. I say it that way because there are times when I just want lighter fare; something I can absorb while editing or doing chores around the house.

With Gnomon, I still did those tasks, and dog walking, etc - but I also often found myself scrolling back to fully take on board story information. Even so, I know a second read/ listen is going to divulge items I’ve probably missed in this go ‘round.

It’s a great multi-genre novel & one I’d highly recommend.

Major praise is also due to Mr Onwukwe for his performance which had to be difficult at times (must listen to fully understand). He has a rich, complex & often soothing vocal range which served the story & listener well. If I were to complain for a small reason, it would be his occasional lack of distinction between characters or story arcs. There are so many different arcs and time/scene “flashbacks” (for lack of a better term), and without those vocal cues, there were a few times when I didn’t realize we were in a different scene or moment.

That said, it is a quite long, very dense & substantial book & it’s a small complaint- the performance was still a five star affair.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful