The timely debut that everyone is talking about (selected as one of the debuts of the year by Observer and Elle UK) from one of the most exciting young British novelists - an achingly contemporary tale of Instagram obsession.
'The best fictional account I've read of the way the internet has shaped our inner lives. A literary thriller that confirms the arrival of a major new talent.' Alex Preston, Observer
Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic
One – Pushkin Press| 26 April 2018 | Paperback £8.99
Called the first great Instagram novel, Sympathy is an electrifying story of blood ties, online identities, and our tormented efforts to connect in the digital age.
At twenty-three, Alice Hare arrives in New York looking for a place to call home. Instead she finds Mizuko Himura, an intriguing Japanese writer, who she begins to follow online, fixated from afar and increasingly convinced this stranger’s life holds a mirror to her own. But as Alice closes in on her “internet twin”, fictional and real lives begin to blur, leaving a tangle of lies, blood ties and sexual encounters that cannot be erased.
Discussion points / feature ideas:
- The role of stories in an online world
- Writing reality when so much of the world is virtual reality
- Unique pressures faced by the millennial generation
- Addiction to social media
- Self-obsession / narcissism
- Real intimacy in a world of curated lifestyles
- Dangers of lifestyle curation / taking the curator away from reality
- Breaking up in a digital world
- Digital power dynamics
- Power of Instagram at the expense of experiences
- Travel – travelling and living alone in foreign cities (including New York / Japan / Brussels)
- Is design and style becoming more important in a social media age, and does this have an impact on the written word?
About Olivia Sudjic
Olivia Sudjic was born in London in 1988. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University where she was awarded the E.G. Harwood English Prize and made a Bateman Scholar. She is available for interview, features and events.
Join the conversation: #Sympathy / @babynovelist
Selected praise for Sympathy
- ‘Imagine Alice Through the Looking Glass for the Instagram generation and you’ll get a sense of Sympathy’ Observer, ‘New Faces of Fiction’
- 'A stalker's story shows how the web has shaped a generation... This impressive novel is alive with clever ideas' The Times
- 'Engrossing... an intelligent and absorbing literary thriller that promises much for the future'
- Financial Times
- 'Inventive and highly charged... a compelling mystery tale' Daily Telegraph
- 'A shrewd examination of how love stories are transformed by the distorting filter of the internet... super-smart... intriguing' Daily Mail
- ‘Reads like The Talented Mr Ripley for the 21st Century’ Vice UK
- ‘a seductive, deeply compelling novel about intimacy and obsession in the age of Instagram... One of the most accomplished debuts I’ve read this year!’ Emerald Street
- 'A smart story of obsession and technology... exquisite... an astute, quirky, slowburning satire on emerging codes of behaviour, intergenerational differences, globalisation, the tech industry and the vortex of the dark web' Guardian
- ‘A gripping odyssey into one woman’s online-addled inner life.’ Independent
- ‘[an] exceptional debut.’ Literary Review
- ‘Sympathy captures the exquisite agony of life online’ AnOther Magazine
- 'Filled with explosive intelligence and dark humour, Sympathy is both beautiful and raw' Elle
- ‘Smart, funny and provoking…every bit as addictive as your ex’s Instagram account.’ Refinery29
For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.