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The Word Exchange (English Edition) von [Graedon, Alena]
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Clever, breathless and sportively Hegelian ... THE WORD EXCHANGE combines the jaunty energy of youngish adult fiction (boyfriend trouble, parent conflicts, peer pressure and post-collegiate jitters) with the spine-tingling chill of the science-fiction conspiracy genre -- Liesel Schillinger NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Graedon's spectacular, ambitious debut explores a near-future America that's shifted almost exclusively to smart technologies, where print is only a nostalgia ... it's as full of humanity as it is of mystery and intellectual prowess PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, starred review [A] remarkable first novel, combining a vividly imagined future with the fondly remembered past ... exquisite BOOKLIST, starred review A wildly ambitious, darkly intellectual and inventive thriller about the intersection of language, technology and meaning KIRKUS, starred review Alena Graedon's spectacular debut is a story for our age of 'accelerated obsolescence.' A genuinely scary and funny mystery about linguistic slippage and disturbance, it's also a moving meditation on our sometimes comic, sometimes desperate struggles to speak, and to listen, and to mean something to one another.To borrow Graedon's own invention, THE WORD EXCHANGE is 'synchronic'--a gorgeous genre mashup that offers readers the pleasures of noir, science fiction, romance and philosophy. It's an unforgettable joyride across the thin ice of language -- Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove Imaginative, layered, and highly original, THE WORD EXCHANGE is an engagingly creepy story of technology gone wrong and a clever meditation on the enduring mysteries of language and love -- Karen Thompson Walker, author of THE AGE OF MIRACLES Wow! This highly addictive future noir is also terrifyingly prescient. Set in a parallel New York filled with language viruses, pneumatic tubes, and heartbreak, Alena Graedon's book is luminous and haunting at every turn. I will never look at words in quite the same way-and neither will you. -- Reif Larsen, author of THE SELECTED WORKS OF T.S. SPIVET Can you imagine a future without books, newspapers or magazines? Alena Graedon has done just that - her debut novel conjures up a scarily plausible dystopian future, where print is dead and intuitive handheld devices are the only method of communication. THE LADY In Graedon's dystopian future, face-to-face interfacing is finished and even email is a fading memory; when the man working on the last-ever dictionary goes missing, his daughter sets out to find him and discovers murky anti-literate corporate forces and outposts of word-loving outlaws. ESQUIRE MAGAZINE The idea of technology taking over our lives to such an extent that we can no longer function without it was an interesting premise, and one that most of us will be able to relate to. -- Louise Jones THE BOOKBAG Imaginative, layered, and highly original, The Word Exchange is an engagingly creepy story of technology gone wrong and a clever meditation on the enduring mysteries of language and love. Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles Can you imagine a future without books, newspapers or magazines? Alena Graedon has done just that - her debut novel conjures up a scarily plausible dystopian future, where print is dead and intuitive handheld devices are the only method of communication. THE LADY In Graedon's dystopian future, face-to-face interfacing is finished and even email is a fading memory; when the man working on the last-ever dictionary goes missing, his daughter sets out to find him and discovers murky anti-literate corporate forces and outposts of word-loving outlaws. ESQUIRE MAGAZINE


Words are under threat. It's time to fight back . . .

Imagine a world without words. A world in which books, libraries and newspapers are things of the past. A world where personal devices provide all you could want or need.

Anana Johnson and her father, Doug, are hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed of the English Dictionary. But one evening, Doug disappears and Anana unearths a single written clue: ALICE.

In the battle to save her father, Anana discovers secret societies, dark incinerator rooms and underground passages. Above all, she finds a world that faces ruin from the dark side of technology.

'A nervy dystopic thriller . . . spine-tingling' NEW YORK TIMES'

'Imaginative, layered, and highly original . . . An engagingly creepy story of technology gone wrong and a clever meditation on the enduring mysteries of language and love' Karen Thompson Walker, author of THE AGE OF MIRACLES


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1889 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 386 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0345806034
  • Verlag: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (10. April 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #229.250 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x98d0f258) von 5 Sternen 217 Rezensionen
28 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98d8cf78) von 5 Sternen Stop the spread of the Word Flu! 8. April 2014
Von Love at First Book - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
What if your iPhones and iPads were more than what they are? What if they could sense what you needed before you even asked? What if they could answer your questions, not by you asking them to Siri, but before you even realize you were doing to think them?

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon describes a similar type of world.

In the not so distant future, the Meme, which is kind of like the most ridiculously amazing iPhone/iPad ever, has taken over. People love their Memes and rely on them a lot. Gone are books, paper, letters, dictionaries. . .

But what comes with this convenience? A virus. A word flu that is taking over, destroying coherent speech and causing individuals to become deathly ill.

Anana (like “banana” without the “A”) works at the Dictionary, where her father is in charge of one of the largest Dictionary rewrites in history. When he goes missing, and the word flu begins to rear its ugly head, Anana knows there is more to the story, including her ex-boyfriend potentially having caused this virus and disorder.

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon was an outstanding book, written in 26 chapters each named for a letter of the alphabet. Told from both Anana’s and Bart’s (her father’s close co-worker) perspectives, The Word Exchange leaves you thinking. Are we really that far away from a society where everyone relies too much on electronic devices?

The Word Exchange is gripping, captivating, yet realistic as well. It’s the kind of book that might encourage you to put down your iPhone and check out some books, letters, or even a physical dictionary.

What word would you miss if it disappeared from the English language?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book
21 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98d8cfcc) von 5 Sternen Love Words & Language? You Will Devour This Page-turner 31. März 2014
Von Meg Cox - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
If you are a lover of words and thrillers, this novel is for you. Yes, there has been a flurry of futuristic novels lately that dwell on the darker side of digital life, but I found this to be one of the most satisfying.

The lead character, Anana Johnston, is believable as is her quirky lexicographer father and her various love interests, despite a few stereotypical hobbies and attributes on behalf of the men. For a novice author, I felt the plot twists and close calls were mostly skillful. The book really pulled me in and through to the end.

I suspect that not every reader of novels would be quite as horrified as I over the dire prospect of abstruse volumes being lost to humanity, but the arguments made by the characters and author as to the absolute necessity of words, languages, history and connection are profound.
17 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98d8cec4) von 5 Sternen "Our facility for reflection has dimmed." 19. März 2014
Von E. Bukowsky - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Alena Graedon's "The Word Exchange," is a clever and expressive dystopian novel about the importance of meaningful written and oral communication. The heroine, who shares narrating duties with other characters, is twenty-seven year old Anana Johnson. She is an artist and employee of her father, the brilliant Douglas Johnson, chief editor of the North American Dictionary of the English Language. After twenty-six years of revision, the forty-volume third edition of the NADEL is complete and about to be published; a launch party is planned to celebrate this auspicious occasion. When Douglas suddenly vanishes, Ana is deeply concerned. She is destined to endure an ordeal that will change her perspective on life, love, and what it means to be human. In addition, she will come to suspect that her former boyfriend, the charismatic Max King, may not be the man she thought he was; that Bart Tate, Doug's protégé and the dictionary's deputy editor, may be more substantial than his geeky appearance would indicate; and that we must all safeguard language, a treasure that links our past, present, and future. "Words," Ana observes, "are pulleys through time. Portals into other minds. Without words, what remains?"

As Ana combs through her father's possessions and snoops in the basement of the New York City building where she works, she learns that a malevolent virus is altering communication and affecting people in unpredictable ways. Ana is afraid, but not cowed. She is determined to find out what happened to her father and intent on helping to save his dictionary, which is in danger of being eradicated. Graedon's villains are blinded by greed, obsessed with power, and too ignorant to understand the preciousness of what they are destroying. Ana, and those who share her outlook, worry that "the end of words would mean the end of memory and thought."

"The Word Exchange" has flashes of brilliance, especially when Graedon waxes philosophical about the information left to us by historians, novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other intellectuals. If this legacy is eradicated, what will we have to pass on to future generations? Graedon's imaginative story is a metaphor for troubling developments in our time. How many young people are busy posting their day-to-day activities on social networking sites, but rarely read and write for pleasure? Are individuals substituting texts and emails for in-depth conversations? Are we becoming indifferent to the nuance and beauty of rich and evocative phrases? This cautionary tale, set in a future devoid of libraries, newspapers, letters, maps, and diaries, warns us not to become enslaved to the technology that we so enthusiastically embrace for its convenience, speed, and efficiency. Douglas Johnson compares our addiction to gadgetry to an ouroboros, a Greek symbol that depicts a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. Although "The Word Exchange" is thought-provoking and entertaining, it is slightly flawed by its excessive length and the author's tendency to hammer home her message repeatedly. Nevertheless, this is an original, timely, and ambitious book by a talented and passionate writer who cherishes language and is committed to its preservation.
15 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98d8dda4) von 5 Sternen Good elements, but the whole fails to come through 16. Mai 2014
Von Bacterialover - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
I received an electronic advanced reading copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley.

Literary novels can get away with lacking an exciting plot when they are filled with profound insights or inspiring artistic language that like poetry conveys complex emotions and relationships. Genre novels can get away with the opposite, being completely plot-driven, large-scale, 'simple' entertainment, even if formulaic. I become most impressed by the authors, or specific works, that are able to pull off the best of both worlds. That kind of mashup is a risky endeavor though, for sometimes it can come out where neither side really comes out well in the product, and that unfortunately is the case overall with "The Word Exchange".

The premise of the novel is wonderful, and lovers of books, languages, and the power of words will appreciate at the very least the foundations of the novel. The early chapters are dominated more by the literary side of the equation. While the writing is good throughout the novel, it is probably best here Although it verges on gimmicky with the advanced vocabulary-laden prose, that doesn't feel like a major fault until it gives way to being replaced by fake words for the remainder of the novel. The trick gets old fast, making the advanced real words sometimes overlap in one's mind as an elemental tool with the fake ones to come. Graedon writes well, but only rarely does it seem profound or elegant. Rather than words being carefully chosen to fit the flow and of the sentence, they are instead chosen to fit the style, or theme moreso, of the novel's plot. An early chapter from the point of view of secondary character Bart is the most vocabulary-heavy, but it is also this chapter out of the whole novel that contains the deepest musings on the theme of language, delving into philosophy and other intellectually stimulating backgrounds. But for the literary richness of character relationships, nothing is quite achieved.

Instead, the novel seems to delve further and further into being genre, a combination of a mystery (what happened to Ana's father) and a near-future techno-thriller. OK, so can the novel at least just then be simply enjoyed as genre entertainment? Sadly, the novel doesn't quite get this right either, though again it does have some things in its favor. The technology of the 'Memes' work wonderfully and believably within the novel, a horror that is easily imaginable. The increasing reliance and emotional dependence on mobile connected technology is highly disturbing, much as it was to Ellul who I happen to be reading now too. But, rather than focusing just on these Memes and the technologies direct effects, Graedon creates this incomprehensible scenario where the technology is somehow exerting effects as a biological virus. How exactly this occurs is explained eventually in the novel, yet even then did not make particular logical, biological sense. Handled in other science fiction outlets, here this idea of a language or word virus, simply doesn't work as believable science fiction.

That could be okay, I am fine with suspended disbelief even in SF. Yet even still, the actual entertainment of the story line and the reader's engagement with it, sort of plods along. A good third of the novel could be taken out and with some edits to make the deletion seamless, I don't think the story would be any worse, but in fact better. The plot drags along as the protagonist Ana slowly comes to realize what is going on and where her father may be (and as she proceeds to ignore every bit of advice/warning given to her, thereby prolonging the moment of realizations). The outbreak of the 'virus' similarly limps along until sudden chaos erupts in the final portion of the novel.

Filled with lots of wonderful pieces (I loved the retro feel of the Luddite-type society and the use of the pneumatic message tubes), the sum total of "The Word Exchange" somehow fails. In a way the whole of the novel is somehow symbolic of many of the sentences found within it (due to the word virus): phrases of lucidity but lots of meaningless contrafibulations interspersed throughout the crotix that end up making the message of the yozil fail to manifest or grok. Never quite reaching impressive literary feats, but also failing to be more than the average genre novel, the whole feels unremarkable. However, this isn't a terrible book either. If you are really enticed by books, language, etc, and the description speaks to you, this could be well worth your time. But if you are picky and want something special, this may not be it. Ultimately if you do give it a read, trust your impressions after the first few chapters.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x990d609c) von 5 Sternen Language is glue. What happens when that glue loses it's Grip? 8. April 2014
Von James J. Kane - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"On a very cold and lonely Friday night last November, my father disappeared from the Dictionary.”

In her debut dystopian novel of and about words and meanings, understood and not understood, Alena Gradeon makes clear that language, the importance of language, and need for language in holding not just society, but families, people, and even love together is something that we cannot do without.

The Word Exchange (published by Doubleday) is both dystopian and a thriller in one “between the covers page turner.” Set sometime around or after 2020, the story begins the sudden disappearance of Douglas Samuel Johnson, Chief Editor of North American Dictionary of the English Language and the determination of his daughter Anana’s, (code named Alice after Alice in Wonderland) efforts to discover why and possibly where he is.

Her search leads us on a wild ride of increasingly stifling technology that creates both linguistic, physical, social, political, economic, and relational breakdowns. And also introduces us to a tension which is talked about today between the history and stability of the printed word (now very much gone in the novel) verses the increasing use of technology and its own language, like texting, alongside the increasing use of visuals such as pictures to communicate.

As she travels above and below the streets of New York, we are forced to confront the corporate giant Synchronic whose Word Exchange is an effort for old words and meanings to be replaced with new ones. Words are for sale. Meaning is for sale.

We also encounter a fascinating new world of what I call Technology 4.0 -Memes and Nautilus’ which becomes infected (and also is able to infect) with what becomes known as word flu – an deadly physical infection due to the ability of technology to affect a person’s biological and genetic structure. The result are rambling and psychotic people who no longer have the ability to rationally communicate.

But it is Graedon’s use of language, and the implications of a lack of a common language and the resultant set of no shared meanings, which are at the heart of this novel. A world without a common set of words and their attendant meanings is a world that comes unhinged.

There are so many references to literature and authors (and I loved the passing reference toward the end of the story to the place where C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and their group the Inklings held their meetings) that a second reading would be recommended. (Lewis Carroll fans will not be disappointed either.)

I think that Alena Graedon has given us something important to think about – the place, the value, (really pricelessness) of words, meaning, and community and the vital interplay of all three. This is demonstrated in how the treatment of word flu takes place – with silence and reflection, reading a physical book, and writing.

I have not read dystopian literature in a long time and so it took me a while to get into the story. But once I did, it was a fast-paced and unfolding drama at every turn. I liked this book because of my own interest in words and because I think this novel points out the need for words and meanings as social glue for all of humankind.

I rate this book a ‘great’ read!

Note: I received an uncorrected proof of the book from Net Galley via the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.
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