The Secret Life
A groundbreaking examination of identity, secrecy, and the relationship between the individual, the state, and technology.
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In The Secret Life: Three True Stories, Andrew O’Hagan issues three bulletins from the porous border between cyberspace and the ‘real world’.
‘Ghosting’ introduces us to the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose autobiography the author agrees to ghostwrite, with unforgettable consequences.
‘The Invention of Ronald Pinn’ finds O’Hagan using the identity of a deceased young man to construct an entirely new one online, leading him on a journey into the deep web’s darkest realms.
‘The Satoshi Affair’ chronicles the strange case of Craig Wright, the Australian web developer who may or may not be the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, and who may or may not be willing, or even able, to reveal the truth.
For prose, try Andrew O’Hagan’s The Secret Life on the wilder shores and darker characters of the internet. It’s funny, neatly written and deeply thought-provoking.
O’Hagan is an immensely engaging writer: wry and witty, and insightful ... despite their technological background, these are ultimately human stories and O’Hagan tells them superbly.
Altogether, The Secret Life is nothing less than an affirmation that using words well still matters, even now.
O’Hagan [is] a vivid and meticulous writer ... at the core of this excellent collection we glimpse the unbridgeable difference between the real and the invented.
It is a tribute to O’Hagan’s quiet and effective betrayal of Assange that the reader’s ambivalence towards the Wikileaker does not prevent the reader’s gradual antipathy.
The theme is identity in the digital age and [O’Hagan’s] three subjects are exquisitely fit for purpose … Thrilling.
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