The Candy House

A Novel

334 pages

English language

Published April 9, 2022 by Scribner.

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3 stars (2 reviews)

The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is 40, with four kids, restless, desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. It’s 2010. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.

In spellbinding interlocking narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also extraordinarily moving, a testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real …

6 editions

reviewed The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

Didn't like it

3 stars

I liked the concept of uploading your memories to the internet, and having corporate incentives to share them. . However, this entire book felt like an introduction. New characters and new events, often in different time periods every chapter. They did become somewhat intertwined, but not in a way where I felt it all came together. At the end I didn't feel like I had any real sense of any of the characters or why they did the things they did. I also didn't find that it really stimulated my thinking at all about what a world where many uploaded their memories to the internet for all to see would be like. It was all just too disconnected. I have not read the first book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, where many of these characters were first introduced. Perhaps that would have helped, but I wouldn't recommend it as …

good writing can save a lot

4 stars

A wild collection of short stories rubbing shoulders with each other and The Goon Squad (which I barely remember, but enjoyed) in a near sci-fi future. Tightrope between failing to cohere, falling from believability or originality, and engrossing oddities of character after character, I liked too many of these to complain.