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Gnomon

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,155 Ratings  ·  490 Reviews
In the world of Gnomon, citizens are constantly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of 'transparency.' Every action is seen, every word is recorded, and the System has access to its citizens' thoughts and memories--all in the name of providing the safest society in history.

When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody, it marks the first time a
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Hardcover, 704 pages
Published October 19th 2017 by William Heinemann
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Tomislav Notice that there are no digits of "8" or "9". It could be an octal representation of the beginning of a long binary string.

Maybe DCAC is…more
Notice that there are no digits of "8" or "9". It could be an octal representation of the beginning of a long binary string.

Maybe DCAC is decentralized access control code.

Maybe it is part of the encrypted source for Witness, or some representation of the text of the novel itself.(less)

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Paromjit
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a strange multi-layered beast of a book set in a future Britain under total surveillance, governed by the System, where the majority of people remarkably believe this is a good thing. It is a dense and demanding sci-fi and fantasy read requiring attention and patience from the reader. It would be remiss of me not to mention that at 700+ pages, you need to prepared for the long haul. This is a sprawling tale which goes in a myriad of directions and left me bewildered as to where it was he ...more
Liz Barnsley
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gnomon is actually a novel that defies description for all the right reasons, it is an epic, an ultimately rewarding read with so many layers inside the layers under the levels that hide the realities that your head will spin and you’ll come out of it feeling dazed and probably weirdly wired. Or maybe that is just me. We’ll see I guess…

The use of language is purely beautiful, a smorgasbord of differing voices all linked to the main bulk of the narrative through the eyes of the Inspector. Probabl
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Sara
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really struggled with this, unfortunately and couldn't finish it. The premise seemed really interesting - I love dystopian fiction, but I found the story overly long and convoluted. It was very slow paced, with large sections devoted to descriptions, and unloading a lot of information in one go, making it difficult to hold my attention. I also struggled to get emotionally invested in anything that happened.

Unfortunately not for
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Max
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that makes you feel that for years you've been killing time with other books, treading water offshore, waiting for a shark to find you. It stretches the sense of what books can do. It gets better the more you think about it, the more you give to it. It's not just a pageturner, though it's that... Not just a literary novel or a science fiction novel, though it's both... I think it really does find more space for the art.

Where's the goddamn sixth star?
Bookteafull (Danny)
May 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

DNF'ed at 32%. I tried. I really, really did.

Another week, Another DNF.



Scifi is one of my favorite genres but lately, it feels like every time I pick up a sci-fi novel to read - I'm extremely bored, confused, and disappointed. I received this book in a PageHabit box that a friend bought for me. Her heart was in the right place but this book belongs in the trash.

I did not care for the synopsis. Wow, another dystopian society where the government sees and records your every move. So shook, I've
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Quirkyreader
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, I received this as an ARC from Penguin Random House. Thank You.

This book fits squarely in the category "what in the heck did I just read". It kind of has a "House of Leaves" feel to it. It's like a Russian nesting doll and The Lament Configuration all in one big puzzle.

It does start off slow, but give it time. Once you start to work to puzzle out you will see why.

This story also screams undertones of Phillip K. Dick. So if you love Dick's work, this is a treat.
Emma
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopia
This was far too dense for me. I can see that this is literary fantasy/ dystopia, but I really couldn’t get on with it. I like books, generally speaking,that make the reader “work for it” but I was doing all the work and not getting much pleasure!
Many thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kevin Kelsey
Describing Gnomon is a challenge, because it’s simultaneously many different things: A cautionary tale about our modern moment’s convergence of technology, surveillance, and human hubris. A matryoshkian novel, as narratively complex as it is straightforward and readable, that is itself ultimately all about storytelling, narrative, and books. A satisfyingly self-aware postmodern book that wants access to your mind as a tool to self-propagate. A beautifully designed physical book (Chip Kidd doesn’ ...more
Paul McNeil
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
To put my review of this book in perspective, I wrote my MA thesis on the concept of "memoria ajena," or characters remembering other people's memories, in works by Jorge Luis Borges, Ricardo Piglia, y Rodrigo Fresán, three Argentine authors whose works blend metafictional concerns, high culture, and science fiction and fantasy elements. If Gnomon were written in Spanish, it would have been an ideal fit for my thesis, a perfect overlap with all my favorite fictional obsessions, and it's my favor ...more
Annie
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first novel that I have read by Nick Harkaway. From the initial blurb that I read on Netgalley and Goodreads, the book sounded great. However, for me this was a very slow read and when I first started reading the book it felt like the author had swallowed a dictionary. To be very honest and I know this sounds brutal, but I found it boring. This is only my opinion and I am sure many other readers will disagree with me. I'm very disappointed.

Many thanks to Netgalley for the copy in return for
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nostalgebraist
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
When I reviewed Harkaway's novel Angelmaker five years ago, I expressed a worry that Harkaway was boxing himself in. That he had settled on exactly one application for his formidable talents -- a boisterous but ultimately fluffy type of sci-fi adventure story -- and that he was never going to do something rawer, more messily human, something with goals beyond the efficient optimization of entertainment density per page.

My fears were misplaced. Gnomon is, in many ways, the exact book I was hoping
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Peter Tillman
Made Adam Robert's best-of 2017 list, http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...

"And then there is Gnomon (William Heinemann), Nick Harkaway’s most ambitious novel yet. This story of near-future mass surveillance, artificial intelligence and human identity reads as if 11 novels have been crowded into a matter-transporter pod, emerging on the other side weirdly melded. An enormous, shaggy, infuriating, amazing and quite unforgettable piece of fiction, it’s the kind of thing only science fiction can
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Carlex
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Three and half stars.

As I said previously, English is not my first language, but I dare to comment this complex novel. I must say that the book deserves a more extensive review.

Gnomon has a fascinating beginning, set in a future high surveilled UK, with the marvelous/nightmarish assistance of an artificial inteligence -the Witness- and the plot starts with a murder apparently impossible. So, the novel looks like good science fiction but then, as the different plots develops... well, It does not
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Dan
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, dystopian
The bookshop is closed, but [the proprietor] goes down to the back office, puts on the kettle and opens the door. People will be very alarmed, and in his experience they always feel better knowing there's a bookshop open.

I did something extremely rare with this book – I re-read 150 pages to better understand what was actually happening. It worked, but... there's an incredible amount of complexity here, and I'm not sure it's all necessary.

First, big kudos for Harkaway attempting and (mostly) pull
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S.J. Higbee
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I normally read quite quickly – I’ve read 157 books so far this year. But this one took me nearly two weeks to complete. Partly it’s the fact that it is something of a doorstopper at over 700 pages, but the main reason was that early on I took the decision that I wouldn’t speed-read through this one. The prose is too rich, too dense – there are too many allusions and clues scattered throughout and as you may have gathered from the blurb, the structure isn’t all that straightforward, either.

It mi
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Roy
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This took me so long to finish. One of the mist dense, confusing, intelligent and beautifully written novels Ive come across. Dont go in wanting a quick easy read. This 700 page behemoth will take awhile for thr average reader. Thisi is also more Lit than scifi. There were times I had to re read passages and even look up words haha. The blurb gives you a cergain background to the story but it doesnt really give you much. Even trying to describe what I read is impossible. My best friend also read ...more
Sarah
Soo.... Nick Harkaway. He's a funny guy, yeah?

A funny guy with an enormous vocabulary.

Who likes to mess with his readers.

It's cool Nick. I didn't want to understand your book anyway, and just so you know we're cool, I gave it 4 stars, because you're a funny guy.

Seriously- trying to put this book into words is tremendously difficult. The running theme is: fugue, catabasis, apocatastasis, connectome, gnomon, the list goes on but these were the ones I had to Google enough times to remember. And jus
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Phil Costa
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ambitious and creative novel set in a dystopian future and told through multiple intertwined voices - some actual, some fictional, some where it's not so clear. I wouldn't suggest I understood all of the twists and turns, or unpacked all of the dense cross-references, but the writing is excellent and the multiple turns of the screw are thoroughly enjoyable if you're willing to stick with the complex narrative. Definitely one of those books where you fell you'd get a lot more out of it the second ...more
Caroline Mersey
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-copies
Every novel by Nick Harkaway is different, and Gnomon (review copy from William Heinemann) is probably his most ambitious book yet. This is a complex, multi-layered book that braids together a series of narratives to tell a story about society and our trust in its underlying structures. Mielikki Neith is the key to piecing all this together.

Neith is the foremost Investigator for The System, the all-seeing and all-knowing system that governs society. Part panopticon, part the ultimate in partici
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Jane
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dystopian Science Fiction with a Confounding Edge

Gnomon is both high- and low-concept science fiction at their absolute best. At 700 pages, with a long, long cast of strong – and strange – characters, and a winding, snake-like plot that doubles back upon itself and sniffs along the way the rarefied air of philosophy, religion, and some funky not-too-distant future science, Gnomon is an oft-confusing, confounding work of near – and maybe total – genius.

It opens as technology-based dystopian ficti
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Vegantrav
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nick Harkaway is a literary genius, and we wander through his remarkably twisted (in both senses) mind as he takes us down a labyrinthine rabbit hole to rival any and all rabbit holes. Gnomon is one of the most ambitious and imaginative books I have ever read. It is its own unique self while hearkening to (and perhaps paying homage to) Jorge Luis Borges's short stories, Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts, and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

I could no mor
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Bridget
Dec 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on, netgalley
You need to be match fit for a Nick Harkaway, you need to prepare for massive vocabulary, difficult concepts, layer upon layer of story and get yourself ready to be taken on a trip where you don't have a map and you just have to surrender yourself to the captain of the journey and trust you will get there in the end. Usually this works really well for me, but sadly not this time. I just couldn't get into it. I did love the complicated words, I liked the main character, but I got horribly confuse ...more
Alan
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Swimmers against the flow, upright nails, and other orthogonal types
Recommended to Alan by: Quirkyreader, via Peter Tillman, and by every previous work to date
They say "dysfunctional," but all I hear is "uppity."
—Diana Hunter, p.406

That one line sums up the late Diana Hunter pretty well, I think—even though it comes pretty late in Nick Harkaway's Gnomon, after a lot has already happened.

Hunter's dead, to begin with, and Inspector Meilikki Neith of the Witness needs to find out why. Hunter had already died before Gnomon begins, in fact. She died under Witness interrogation, too, and that's not supposed to happen anymore—in this near-future Britain, abs
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Bojan Butkovic
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Ima nešto kod Harkaveja što rezonira s mojim čitalačkim uživanjem. S druge strane, apsolutno razumem da bi se neko smorio na trećini i zafrljačio knjigu preko sobe, mada upozoravam da bi se ozbiljne povrede mogle načiniti tako. Ali, što se mene tiče, ovo je jedna od onih knjiga za koje važi izreka da je samo putovanje podjednako važno kao i cilj, ako ne i važnije i ja sam u tom putovanju i slanju razglednica sa njega beskrajno uživao.
Anna
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, scifi, dystopia
I adored The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway’s first novel. Angelmaker was by comparison a bit of a let-down, then Tigerman didn’t have a weird enough concept to appeal so I haven't read it. ‘Gnomon’, however, is a definite return to form and I found it very satisfying. (view spoiler) My reading experience ...more
Penelope
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Like all of Mr Harkaway's books, this more than any of them, requires you to trust that the author will carry you through, the at times, incomprehensible story, and reward your diligence and perseverance with a denouement that will quite possibly shake your world view. Gnomon does just that! It's not the easiest of books to read, and Angelmaker still remains my favourite book by this author, but the time and effort taken to read it is not wasted. At the very least you will learn a 100 new words ...more
Michael Cayley
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Frankly I found this dystopian novel boring. The prose was too convoluted, with lots of recondite or invented words; there was too much information dumping - what appeared to me like mini-essays giving background information; and the whole book seemed overlong and slow-moving. I am sure it is very clever, but that is not enough to keep the reader’s attention.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me have an ARC.
Emma Victory
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I think it's a work of art and we are lucky to have him. The times when I enjoyed reading it the most were the longest uninterrupted stretches of reading I had. When I had to stop and start it wasn't so easy to experience the story. It's an immersive experience.
Samantha
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love big, demanding, complicated books with obscure vocabulary, books that I can really sink my teeth into. Gnomon is such a book. Nick Harkaway's novel is truly remarkable. It's endlessly absorbing and will take over your mind and your life as you read it. Reading it is great exercise for the brain as you see it all come together and try to figure things out. Gnomon is utterly unlike anything I've ever read before. It's amazing and you should read it.

It's the not-so-distant future in London.
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Matthew
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I had expected a challenge from the get-go. What resulted was an all-out prize fight, yours truly vs. several opponents: an Inspector, a shark, the number 4, my dictionary. Most of all I battled with the author, Nick Harkaway, as I wandered my way through his maniacal, brilliant mind, fully on display throughout the 700+ pages of his sprawling, frustrating epic Gnomon.

First off, the novel is impossible to define in that it’s my belief it’ll conjure different opinions and emotions from each reade
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Gnomon_nomonG: Where's Mielikki? 8 69 Nov 08, 2018 08:01AM  
Gnomon_nomonG: Gnomon's final word 1 27 Mar 28, 2018 05:21PM  
Gnomon_nomonG: Jorge Luis Borges - "Death and the Compass" 5 31 Mar 28, 2018 05:05PM  
Gnomon_nomonG: The Gnomon numbers... 4 55 Mar 28, 2018 12:45PM  
Gnomon_nomonG: Gnomon - macro thoughts/impressions/questions 1 42 Feb 20, 2018 07:29AM  
31,807 followers
Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall, UK in 1972. He is possessed of two explosively exciting eyebrows, which exert an almost hypnotic attraction over small children, dogs, and - thankfully - one ludicrously attractive human rights lawyer, to whom he is married.

He likes: oceans, mountains, lakes, valleys, and those little pigs made of marzipan they have in Switzerland at new year.

He does not like: b
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“Being a little less good than someone who is brilliant is a failure to be cherished.” 2 likes
“Am I a fraud, then, or a scholar? I am both, of course, as we all are. Half of what I know I do not believe. Half of what I believe I cannot prove. For the rest, I hope to muddle through and my mistakes go without comment.” 1 likes
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