9781594205057

A Working Theory of Love

Hutchins, Scott

ISBN 10: 1594205051 / 1-59420-505-1
ISBN 13: 9781594205057
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

Settled back into the San Francisco singles scene following the implosion of his young marriage just months after the honeymoon, Neill Bassett is going
through the motions. His carefully modulated routine, however, is soon disrupted in ways he can’t dismiss with his usual nonchalance.

When Neill’s father committed suicide ten years ago, he left behind thousands of pages of secret journals, journals that are stunning in their detail, and, it must be said, their complete banality. But their spectacularly quotidian details, were exactly what artificial intelligence company Amiante Systems was looking for, and Neill was able to parlay them into a job, despite a useless degree in business marketing and absolutely no experience in computer science. He has spent
the last two years inputting the diaries into what everyone hopes will become the world’s first sentient computer. Essentially, he has been giving it language—using his father’s words. Alarming to Neill—if not to the other employees of Amiante—the experiment seems to be working. The computer actually appears to be gaining awareness and, most disconcerting of all, has started asking questions about Neill’s childhood.

Amid this psychological turmoil, Neill meets Rachel. She was meant to be a one-night stand, but Neill is unexpectedly taken with her and
the possibilities she holds. At the same time, he remains preoccupied by unresolved feelings for his ex-wife, who has a talent for appearing at the most unlikely and unfortunate times. When Neill discovers a missing year in the diaries—a year that must hold some secret to his parents’ marriage and perhaps even his father’s suicide—everything Neill thought he knew about his past comes into question, and every move forward feels impossible to make.

With a lightness of touch that belies pitch-perfect emotional control, Scott Hutchins takes us on an odyssey of love, grief, and reconciliation that shows us how, once we let go of the idea that we’re trapped by our own sad histories—our childhoods, our bad decisions, our miscommunications with those we love—we have the chance to truly be free. A Working Theory of Love marks the electrifying debut of a prodigious new talent.

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: Penguin Press HC, The, 2012. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "The field of artificial intelligence, or computer robotics, may not sound like a poignant story line for a novel, particularly one that bends thematically toward the beatings of the heart. But Scott Hutchins, in A Working Theory of Love turns this potentially sterile technological world into an emotionally moving force that helps propel the narrative as it grapples with the stuff of real life. In quick, artful strokes, the various characters in a wide cast are memorably drawn and entwined in Neill''s personal saga. Even the would-be intelligent machine, "Dr. Bassett," becomes such a vivid character that questions of its mortality, not just its human dimensions, are raised. A terrific debut, an intriguing, original take on family and friendship, lust and longing, grief and forgiveness. " - Associated Press "What makes a man? In this terrific debut novel, A Working Theory of Love , emotionally adrift divorc Neill Bassett Jr. is trying to build the world''s first sentient computer program. After inputting 20 years of his late father''s diaries, he holds conversations with a pixelated personality that seems just like his dad-discussing his life, his childhood, and his current romantic woes. Throughout, Hutchins hits that sweet spot where humor and melancholy comfortably coexist." - Entertainment Weekly " Inventive, intelligent and sometimes hilarious. One of the pleasures here is Hutchins'' terrific grasp of the zeitgeist - the intellectual energies, cultural landscapes and characters of the Bay Area. A Working History of Love revels in these big questions: Are humans more like computers than we think? Is the experience of love all chemicals and projection? Is human connection an illusion - a kind of cosmic Turing test in which it''s only necessary to fool a few people some of the time? By the end of this novel, one feels empathically engaged with the plight of the machine. Our minds too ''are all 0s and 1s, the neurons either on or off. There''s no center for a soul. Just pattern upon pattern upon pattern through which the rough-shaped thing we call ourselves emerges into view.''" - San Francisco Chronicle " Ultimately, A Working Theory of Love examines, quite successfully, our semi-delusional approach to interpersonal relationships and contemplates whether the world comes down on the side of seem or be -or if it remains negotiated in the space in between." - BOMB Magazine "The idea of a grown man receiving closure from a supercomputer acting as his father sounds more comical than poignant, but readers will be unable to put the book down as the conversations between man and machine grow more intimate, and Neill is forced to deal with the pain of his father''s suicide. Questions about the nature of humanity and love are expertly explored in this impressive debut. " - BookPage " A deftly managed novel about the ways we move on and the ways we don''t, the stock we put in memory and language, and the incompetent ways that we strive to love each other. " - Christian Science Monitor "While the artificial-intelligence conceit feels utterly unique in this literary fiction context, Neill himself is universal in his specificity, his glacially slow emotional evolution both frustrating yet strangely relatable. Hutchins'' true triumph, however, lies within his novel''s convergence of language and pacing. The story he''s chosen to tell, despite flirting with the fantastical, reveals no outrageous twists, nor dramatic revelations, yet he steadily builds tension through his linguistic choices. In other words, life''s realistic detours are described in such a way as to heighten their relevance; a failed marriage''s quotidian traumas are revealed with slow purpose, small pauses are used to oversize effect. In this modern tale of life''s scattered attachments, of an individual''s journey toward the self-sufficiency only a curated collection of wise entanglements can provide. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_1594205051

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Book Description: Penguin Press, 2012. Trade Paperback. Book Condition: New. Advanced Reading Copy (ARC). Absolutely brand new and unread ARC; lovely cover, perfect spine, a reallysweet copy!!! You'll cartwheel with joy when this book gets to you!!!Note - Trade paperback, advance reader uncorrected proof copy. Bookseller Inventory # 014947

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