Meatspace, the second novel from Nikesh Shukla, is out now on The Friday Project.
'The first and last thing I do every day is see what strangers are saying about me.'
Kitab Balasubramanyam is having a pretty rough few months. His girlfriend left him, after deciding he drained the joy from life through never being fully present in the room without social networking. His debut novel didn't sell any copies and so he's now burning through his inheritance money. The few people that did notice his book won't stop emphasizing the Indian in 'Indian novelist'. His father has more success with women than he does AND his Facebook comments get more likes. He's reduced to spending all of his time coming up with ideas for novelty Tumblrs in his flat with Aziz, and now even he's left for adventures in New York in an attempt to jazz up his blog.
When Kitab's namesake arrives from India, looking for someone to take him under his wing, and claiming to be 'the real Kitab', he's forced to deal with a increasingly absurd sequence of events to try and get his life back. But what does that even mean anymore?
Meatspace is a hilarious and troubling analysis of what happens when our lives become an aggregation of shared content.
Praise for Meatspace:
'Meatspace is the greatest book on loneliness since The Catcher in the Rye.' Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
'Meatspace is funny. Damn funny. It confirms that Nikesh Shukla is one of the few writers in Britain guaranteed to make you laugh. But this isn't just a novel to make you laugh. It is a book crammed with razor-sharp pop culture references, dialogue you can actually hear, and enough truth to keep you flinching. It explores that weird existence we now have, caught between our status updates and that thing we used to call real life. It is a book about love and sex and writing and identity and friendship and Twitter bios. It will warm your heart. You should really switch off your computer and read it.' Matt Haig, author of The Humans
'Meatspace is, simply, one of the finest novels I have ever read about modern life and modern living, terrifying, beautiful, hilarious and powerful; about how loose we are with ourselves and our personas when we step online; about how technology moves faster than us, and will drag us in its wake if we only let it; and about friendship, love and family. Both brilliantly written and artfully structured, it is a tremendous - and unexpected - follow-up to Coconut Unlimited. It is so achingly relevant to whatever zeitgeist we're currently undergoing that it's almost like reading through an instagram filter. Douglas Coupland, Junot Diaz, Chuck Palahniuk and Jennifer Egan: stick them in a blendr, and out comes this amazing new novel by one of the UK's most distinct voices.' James Smythe, author of The Machine
'Shukla writes with precision, humour and honesty, about the isolation that social media can bring. Meatspace is a novel with many laugh-out-loud moments, break-dancing to the arrhythmia of its existential heart.' Nikita Lalwani, author of Gifted
‘If the purpose of a novel is to make sense of how we live now, Nikesh Shukla's Meatspace fulfills that promise #ennuiisananalogueconstruct’ Niven Govinden, author of Black Bread White Beer
'If you replaced the Wizard of Oz with John Fante's protagonist Arturo Bandini, and then made a world crazier than the Emerald City could ever dream of being, you've got something close to Meatspace. Because, in the end, nothing's more unexpected and strange than real life. And there's a certain valiancy in trying to manage the rocks life throws at us, whether it's in the stories we tell ourselves, or the stories we tell online. We all filter our lives in one way or another, just as Kitab does. Funny, slightly mad, but deeply sympathetic and relatable, Meatspace has the biggest heart.' Rebecca Hunt, author of Mr Chartwell
'Meatspace is a weird and wonderful novel that brilliantly captures the soul-sickening fun of a life lived on social media. Read it then move to the woods and repent for your wasted youth.' Jenny Offill, author of Dept of Speculation
'As a fellow writer/internet addict/human being, Meatspace really touched (and chilled) me. It's not just a brilliant story in itself but really a front-runner in terms of examining how our relationship with the internet is impacting our real lives...' Kerry Hudson, author of Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma
'Meatspace is fun, funny, & moving when you least expect it...' Emylia Hall, author of The Book of Summers
‘An anarchic, self-involved and admirably honest portrait of a bookish life lived in the brave new digital world.’ New Statesman
‘Like Douglas Coupland's Generation X, this novel captures a cultural moment.’ Guardian
'Brilliant stuff' Londonist
'Hilarious and disturbing' Stylist
'Totally original and funny and humane' Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with The Topknot
'Our messed up times dissected in as funny, tender and suitably weird a way as possible.' David Whitehouse, author of Bed
'Buzzing with streetwise smarts and satirical barbs, it's a thoughtful, often hilarious, meditation on a young writer's loneliness in the digital age.' Independent on Sunday