theMystery.doc - Matthew McIntosh
Grove Press, 2017
Funny, highly inventive, and deeply moving, theMystery.doc is a vast, shapeshifting literary novel that reads like a page-turner. It’s a comedy, a tragedy, a big book about America. It’s unlike anything you’ve read before.
Rooted in the western United States in the decade post-9/11, the book follows a young writer and his wife as he attempts to write the follow-up to his first novel, searching for a form that will express the world as it has become, even as it continually shifts all around him. Pop-up ads, search results, web chats, snippets of conversation, lines of code, and film and television stills mix with alchemical manuscripts, classical works of literature―and the story of a man who wakes up one morning without any memory of who he is, his only clue a single blank document on his computer called themystery.doc. From text messages to The Divine Comedy, first love to artificial intelligence, the book explores what makes us human―the stories we tell, the memories we hold on to, the memories we lose―and the relationships that give our lives meaning.
Part love story, part memoir, part documentary, part existential whodunit, theMystery.doc is a modern epic about the quest to find something lasting in a world where everything―and everyone―is in danger of slipping away.