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Red Pill
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Red Pill

A novel

Bookseller Recommendation

Red Pill

“From academic satire, to fevered paranoia, to the dread-inducing realism of election night 2016, Hari Kunzru has written a novel—maybe THE novel—for these troubled times. Many of the choices Kunzru makes are unexpected, but they are never the easy or obvious choice, and under a lesser writer, the novel might have floundered. But Hari Kunzru is one of those writers I would follow anywhere, and I have, including into paranormal realms (see White Tears, 2017). But perhaps the most interesting point Kunzru seems to be making in this book is this: sometimes novels don't need a bogeyman; sometimes reality is far scarier.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table

Description

ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2020
ONE OF NPR's BEST BOOKS OF 2020
ONE OF THE A.V. CLUB'S 15 FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2020

From the widely acclaimed author of White Tears, a bold new novel about searching for order in a world that frames madness as truth.


After receiving a prestigious writing fellowship in Germany, the narrator of Red Pill arrives in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee and struggles to accomplish anything at all. Instead of working on the book he has proposed to write, he takes long walks and binge-watches Blue Lives--a violent cop show that becomes weirdly compelling in its bleak, Darwinian view of life--and soon begins to wonder if his writing has any value at all.

Wannsee is a place full of ghosts: Across the lake, the narrator can see the villa where the Nazis planned the Final Solution, and in his walks he passes the grave of the Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist, who killed himself after deciding that "no happiness was possible here on earth." When some friends drag him to a party where he meets Anton, the creator of Blue Lives, the narrator begins to believe that the two of them are involved in a cosmic battle, and that Anton is "red-pilling" his viewers--turning them toward an ugly, alt-rightish worldview--ultimately forcing the narrator to wonder if he is losing his mind.


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