Jeremy Jordan and Alexandra Chen hope to make a quiet home together but struggle to find a space safe from their personal secrets. For Jeremy, this means leaving behind his former life as an intelligence operative during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, while for Alexandra, a vocation in image control for whole countries cannot prepare her for the challenge of guarding a beloved brother's confidences or learning more of his mysterious history.
These minor plot points never quite connect. They are only resolved in summary, in the novel’s coda—this proves unsatisfying, yet intriguing ... What I most appreciate about Quotients is the same thing I find most difficult, and that is O’Neill’s syntactical and stylistic play. The language in this novel is all things all the time: challenging, playful, exciting, and opaque ... If O’Neill wanted to write a simple literary thriller, she would have. What she has given us with Quotients is a piece of art that eschews convention, one that forces us to take a fractured narrative and turn it inward ... This is a book for our paranoid age, the one where we keep our secrets pressed tight against our chests; the one where we have no secrets at all.
O’Neill’s...occasionally off-kilter sentences are metonymic experiences, creating an immersion in the confusing swirl of information which spies navigate with life-and-death consequences. This challenging, slow-burning, yet suspenseful tale is a frame for O’Neill’s powerful and chilling warning to consider the choices we are making. With an astounding grasp of the issues confronting our age, an assured depiction of a multitude of diverse characters, and a distinctive style all her own, she ranges from movingly sensual descriptions to sharp observations, from wordplay to gut punches. In sum, this is a poignant lament for our time’s lost generation, which may be all of us.
The novel’s plot unfolds elliptically ... O’Neill presents the different sides of her characters to the reader in dramatic ways ... In blending meditations on technology with a profound sense of alienation, O’Neill also recalls Don DeLillo’s short story 'Human Moments in World War III' ... What makes this novel click is the way O’Neill uses language to make familiar events turn into something strange and mysterious ... What O’Neill has done with Quotients involves finding a new way to write about modern technology, and how its changed people’s ability to perceive the world. It might not sound like science fiction at first, but once you’ve spent some time immersed in the novel’s particular metier, it’s hard to think of it as anything else.