Cover Image: Reboot

Reboot

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Member Reviews

Excellent. This novel rides that rare line wherein you can just as soon put it on your college syllabus as you can recommend it to a friend who simply likes a good book.

As far as recommending it to your friend who reads commercial bestsellers, I would recommend it to friends who recently loved TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW. In his creation of the "rebooted" TV show, and in his creation of/engagement with the gaming world, Taylor does a lot of the clever world-building that Gabrielle Zevin did in TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW. Both books also have heart. And they both explore broken marriages/relationships, as well as explore the connection between avid fandom and violence. I'd say REBOOT is masculine-oriented than TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, and in some ways lines up with FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE. Taylor's take it slightly more meta, but every bit as entertaining.

As far as a specimen-for-your-syllabus goes, REBOOT has heavy WHITE NOISE vibes. The author masters not only DeLillo's satirical themes but also his deft, character-driven narrative style. What's really interesting to me is that, back when I first read WHITE NOISE, the disasters -- like the Airborne Toxic Event -- felt so... speculative. Exercises in extrapolation; the assumption being that we were still living within a space that was at a distance or remove from such extreme scenarios. But boy have times changed (or did I just get old?). Either way, the cultural phenomena and environmental disasters in REBOOT are either already part of our actual existence (forest fires, mass shootings, QAnon/space laser believers, etc) that there's definitely a difference in how the book hits. (Although, side note: I guess the Airborne Toxic Event has now actually happened, too! It just hadn't at the time when I first encountered WHITE NOISE.) We live in a world where it has become difficult to look at a headline and guess whether it comes from the Onion or the BBC, and in some ways I suppose that gives REBOOT a more incisive bite.

All this said, this is not a "cold" academic novel! Or a mean one whose entire point is cynicism. Taylor appears to actually hold his characters in warm regard (gasp), and that keeps a warmth kindled in the reader's heart to want to keep hanging out with them and turn those pages. In the interest of discussing this in terms of "reader recommendations" I would urge those who are reading for entertainment to make sure to read further than the "cold open." While the book opens with the POV of a self-proclaimed Incel who implies he's an imminent active shooter, this isn't where the book lives. Read on -- it's worth it.

Oh, and besides the fact that the cover reminds me of those airbrushed T-shirts you used to be able to buy at your local beach boardwalk in the 1990s, now that I've read the book, I see what's in the rest of the picture, and "get it"!

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