A monumental, uproarious, and exuberant novel about the search—for love, truth, and the meaning of Life With The Internet.
The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.
Insider tech exposé, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual.
Featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction, Book of Numbers is an epic of the digital age, a triumph of a new generation of writers, and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Please note that Book of Numbers uses a special pagination system inspired by binary notation: the part number precedes the page number, and is separated from it by a decimal point.
Praise for Book of Numbers
“Joshua Cohen is the Great American Novelist. . . . Like Pynchon and Wallace, Cohen can write with tireless virtuosity about absolutely everything. . . . Cohen has turned the tables on the Internet: Instead of being reduced by its omniscience, he forces it to serve his imaginative purposes. . . . If John Henry is going to compete with the steam engine, he needs an almost superhuman energy and intelligence of his own—and if any writer has it, it is Joshua Cohen.”—Adam Kirsch, Tablet
“The next candidate for the Great American Novel . . . David Foster Wallace–level audacious.”—Details
“[A] monstrous talent and restive, roiling intellect . . . Other recent literary novels have treated the dot-com-mania reboot, its flagship companies, and their ‘disruptive’ technologies—Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, Dave Eggers’s The Circle—but Cohen’s is the best.”—Bookforum
“Cohen returns with a new novel questioning what life is in the digital age. The prolific writer . . . has given us a smart thriller to kick off the season. . . . Inspiring in a way that requires readers to pay attention not just to the words but the book as a form.”—Vanity Fair
“Reading Cohen’s magnum opus is a lot like falling down an Internet wormhole. In Numbers, you’ll find an international mystery, a fake memoir, a modern retelling of the biblical Book of Numbers, a sex romp, and a bunch of leaked documents. Think David Foster Wallace meets David Mitchell meets the search history that you just cleared. Beast.”—Esquire
“An ambitious and inspired attempt at the Great American Internet Novel . . . Cohen’s encyclopedic epic is about many things—language, art, divinity, narrative, desire, global politics, surveillance, consumerism, genealogy—but it is above all a standout novel about the Internet.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)