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Joanna Kavenna

A darkly ironic novel of ideas, a dystopia, and an absurdist thriller, from the award-winning novelist, Joanna Kavenna.

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‘Fun and erudite’ Sunday Times
‘Snort-inducingly funny’ Daily Mail
‘One of the cleverest books you’ll read this year’ Telegraph

A darkly ironic novel of ideas, a dystopia, and an absurdist thriller, from the award-winning novelist

Self-anointed guru of the Digital Age, Guy Matthias, CEO of Beetle, has become one of the world’s most powerful and influential figures. Untaxed and ungoverned, his trans-Atlantic company essentially operates beyond the control of Governments or the law.

But trouble is never far away, and for Guy a perfect storm is brewing: his wife wants to leave him, fed up with his serial infidelities; malfunctioning Beetle software has led to some unfortunate deaths which are proving hard to cover up; his longed for deal with China is proving troublingly elusive and, among other things, the mystery hacker, Gogol, is on his trail.

With the clock ticking- Guy, his aide Douglas Varley, Britain’s flailing female PM, conflicted national security agent Eloise Jayne, depressed journalist David Strachey, and Gogol, whoever that may be – the question is becoming ever more pressing, how do you live in reality when nobody knows anything, and all knowledge, all certainty, is partly or entirely fake?

Critic Reviews

‘Kavenna explores the complex nature of reality and perception with vast imaginative energy and a generous spirit.’

A. L. Kennedy
Critic Reviews

‘One of the most entertaining, fluent and readable novelists around.’

Critic Reviews

‘Joanna Kavenna is a true literary insurgent: bravely unconventional and ruthless in her quest to demonstrate the possibility of deep, distinctive experience.’

Miriam Toews
Critic Reviews

‘Kavenna scales her mountain ... with the determination of a writer who is really living and, what's more, living a relevant life. To surrender yourself to the revelations of that life and then to come back with the assertions of prose: that is the new heroism of the woman writer, and Kavenna is in the vanguard of it.’

Rachel Cusk
Critic Reviews

‘Joanna Kavenna’s novel Zed, a comedy-dystopian piece, imagines a world where all-powerful algorithms totally define our lives, from the personal to the political, where we are all just subsets of our own data. However, the algorithms in Zed are constantly getting things wrong – the romantic partners they set people up with don’t suit them at all; the perfect lives they are meant to engineer are horrendous. Ultimately, we are not computer-predictable beings. Kavenna has clarified the new place where our “true” selves begin: we are that which algorithms cannot predict or fathom; we appear in the cracks between data and the everyday.’

Peter Pomerantsev, New Statesman Books of the Year

Joanna Kavenna grew up in various parts of Britain, and has also lived in the USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Her first book The Ice Museum was about travelling in the North. Her second book, a novel called Inglorious, won the Orange Prize for New Writing. Kavenna’s writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the…

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