Hailed as a modern day Catcher in the Rye, Matthew Selwyn’s acclaimed debut novel ‘****, or, The Anatomy of Melancholy’ is a startling look into the addled mind of a young man hooked on the culture of the internet and desperately reaching out for human connection. Encompassing some of the biggest themes of the digital age – isolation, mental illness, the nature of reality, relationships, and the root of both love and hate – Matthew Selwyn’s stunning debut novel has been described by ‘The Lancet: Psychiatry’ as "... a well-crafted book, a bleak yet thought-provoking portrayal of a character whose very superficiality leaves us eager to find out what horrors lie beneath the surface..."
Written with verve and originality, ‘****, or, The Anatomy of Melancholy’ marks the emergence of a major new talent in literary fiction, a voice both “tough and empathetic”. Selwyn’s writing is reminiscent of the “savageness of ‘American Psycho’ and the nihilism of some of the twentieth century’s greatest existentialists” but mixed with a “lightness of touch that rivals Douglas Coupland’s comic approach to ‘digital fiction’.” Brutal and honest, amused and appalled, this is “the kind of novel that can inspire laughter and anxiety with a single sentence... horrifying, hilarious and evocative” (Emily May, #1 Goodreads UK reviewer). A must read for the twenty-first century reader.
PRAISE FOR ‘****, OR, THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY’:
An early champion of the book, novelist Peter Maughan wrote: "there's a talent burning away throughout this work like a slow fuse... Matthew Selwyn is an emerging major writer." Since then a number of authors have praised the book, with internationally-published novelist Bob Van Laerhoven offering a glowing review: “The novel develops a disturbing, very modern and ambiguous theme, evoking the sinister, lonely, “wolf-eat-wolf” lifestyle of young people in the 21th century. Gradually, the dark humour and the cynical view on life evolve into something deeper, a hidden melancholy, a muffled cry of pain. The mysterious girlfriend Lexi fades slowly into a pixel-portrait, the protagonist into a young man who’s nearly cracking under the load of the digital world’s demands and illusions. And then there’s the style, the icing on the cake for me: from laconic, to Hollywood blockbuster-jibe, from street-wise philosophy to subtle, lyrical undertones. A complex, disturbing, compelling debut.”
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Matthew Selwyn is a young writer from London, England. His debut novel, ****: The Anatomy of Melancholy was released in 2014. A student and librarian, he is often to be found hiding amongst the stacks in the Victorian library where he works, surrounded by piles of books. He writes book reviews online at www.bibliofreak.net. www.matthewselwyn.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an outstanding debut! The direction is expertly delivered, and our protagonist befriends the reader as a novice. Though somewhat misguided to throw us from the reality of his situation, the truth is revealed in a most genius manner. We live in a world where technology is king and our younger generation has become victim to the ease, or should I say addiction, of having the world at their fingertips. This tends to make one less inclined to involve themselves in actual social situations. Much like Robert Burton, our narrator rants about life and its inhabitants with superior prose. He’s vulgar, sexist, obnoxious, and real. He’s the kid next door, a friend of my son’s, or my nephews. As in reality, nothing is what it seems, and I couldn’t help connecting with this character. His feigned attempts to be hard and impervious to pain slowly become translucent. While I’m a little older than the intended audience, every generation has their poison of choice. My generation birthed the internet, but our progeny has hypnotized our actual offspring. Selwyn is an incomparable young writer that I will follow, henceforth. Dark, entertaining, shrewd, comical, and moving! I highly recommend this to adults ages eighteen and up! ***Warning: This book contains Sex, Violence, and Profanity*** I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.