From the winner of the Orange Award for New Writing comes a satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do—before we do.
In terms of its stylistic innovations, Zed is a tour de force ... works on the level of syntax, as language, grammar and meaning are compromised by the machines and their human controllers. [Kavenna] creates almost a poetics of tautology ... a nuanced, metatextual novel; an investigation into the erasure of language and agency in which the numerous literary reference ... There is a Dickensian quality to it ... There is a giddying quality to the prose, as the reader is steered through a maze of reproductions, seeking the unique ... a novel that takes our strange, hall-of-mirrors times very seriously indeed. It is a work of delirious genius.
Kavenna deserves high praise for originality as well as the energy and humour of her writing. In 367 pages she manages to paint a picture of a world terrifyingly similar to our own and provides a witty and horrifyingly relevant account of just how much technology can control the world if we let it ... provides an interesting and accurate insight into the power and problems of algorithms and asks important questions about how they impact on the value we place on humanity ... Kavenna’s book is full of dark humour and provides refreshingly frank social commentary with a distinctly Orwellian flavour. Clever, funny and incredibly readable.
... absorbing and timely ... There are hilarious moments ... Kavenna’s writing brims with manic energy, using relentless logic to show just how bizarre an algorithm can be. If the book has a fault, it’s that it presents this world as a fait accompli: it’s difficult to imagine that being imprisoned for a crime not yet committed would be met with little resistance. Zed plunges into potential extremes, and reminds us that in all our faults, we cannot be reduced to a series of 1s and 0s. At least, not yet.