Overthrow
"A nineteenth-century social novel for the twenty-first-century surveillance state."--The New York Times Book Review "A political thriller with a radical spirit." --The Boston Globe A deeply humane novel that explores the fate of candor, good will, and the utopian spirit in a world where technology and surveillance are weaponizing human relationshipsOne autumn night, as a grad student named Matthew is walking home from the subway, a handsome skateboarder catches his eye. Leif, mesmerizing and enigmatic, invites Matthew to meet his friends, who are experimenting with tarot cards. It's easier to know what's in other people's minds than most people realize, the friends claim. Do they believe in telepathy? Can they actually do it? Though Matthew should be writing his dissertation on the poetry of kingship, he soon finds himself falling in love with Leif--a poet of the internet age--and entangled with Leif's group as they visit the Occupy movement's encampment across the river, where they hope their ideas about radical empathy will help heal a divided world and destabilize the 1%.When the group falls afoul of a security contractor freelancing for the government, the news coverage, internet outrage, and legal repercussions damage the romances and alliances that hold the friends together, and complicate the faith the members of the group have--or, in some cases, don't have--in the powers they've been nurturing. Elspeth and Raleigh, two of Leif's oldest friends, will see if their relationship can weather the strains of criminal charges; Chris and Julia, who drifted into the group more recently, will have their loyalties tested; and Matthew, entranced by the man at the center of it all, will have to decide what he owes Leif and how much he's willing to give him. All six will be forced to reckon with the ambiguous nature of transparency and with the insidious natures of power and privilege.Overthrow is a story about the aftermath of the search for a new moral idealism, in a world where new controls on us--through technology, surveillance, the law--seem to be changing the nature and shape of the boundaries that we imagine around our selves. Caleb Crain, with astonishing sensitivity, acuity, and grace, has captured the deep unease and ambiguity that threaten our contemporary lives, and has written a beautiful novel about the redemptive possibilities of love and friendship.

Overthrow Details

TitleOverthrow
Author
ReleaseAug 27th, 2019
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780525560456
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Overthrow Review

  • Tyler Goodson
    January 1, 1970
    Matthew, a grad student, is walking home when a young man, Leif, passes him on a skateboard. Matthew follows Leif to an apartment, turning from what he thought his life would be to one of Occupy protests, computer hacking, and a group of people with mysterious (telepathic?) abilities. The novel that follows, as it drifts through the lives of Leif's group, is as emotionally powerful as it is politically relevant, concerning itself with the interior spaces of its characters more than the politics Matthew, a grad student, is walking home when a young man, Leif, passes him on a skateboard. Matthew follows Leif to an apartment, turning from what he thought his life would be to one of Occupy protests, computer hacking, and a group of people with mysterious (telepathic?) abilities. The novel that follows, as it drifts through the lives of Leif's group, is as emotionally powerful as it is politically relevant, concerning itself with the interior spaces of its characters more than the politics that surround them. They are not lifeless sketches, created in service to a plot, but real humans, full of loneliness and desire, who are as bewildered in their extraordinary circumstances as I would be. Watching their stories unfold is riveting and alarming, as they navigate the dread and sense of inevitability that accompanied the end of privacy as we once knew it.
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  • Austin Broussard
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC of Overthrow through my job as a bookseller. I failed to get much of anything from this. The plot—which was, at first, honestly enticing—left me enervated by the end. It bumbled around from one character to the next, docking and undocking with its players in a way that felt haphazard. I couldn’t give you a plot summary if I tried, which is why I’m not going to try.And I also found the writing to be, at times, bafflingly weak. “Matthew felt terribly free,” writes Crain, “as one I was given an ARC of Overthrow through my job as a bookseller. I failed to get much of anything from this. The plot—which was, at first, honestly enticing—left me enervated by the end. It bumbled around from one character to the next, docking and undocking with its players in a way that felt haphazard. I couldn’t give you a plot summary if I tried, which is why I’m not going to try.And I also found the writing to be, at times, bafflingly weak. “Matthew felt terribly free,” writes Crain, “as one does when one understands that one has lost touch with one’s old life.” Ah. Well put. Thinking harder about this, I do want to concede that I might not have had the right background to understand the plot. The story juggles legal processes at the state and federal levels, computer hacking etiquette, the machinations of hired prosecutors, and something to do with a potential dystopian misuse of data algorithms? I dunno. I’ve no doubt that there are many out there who might have an easier task connecting with this; but I can’t say I was one of those people. But there are pockets of writing in here that are genuinely good, and his portrayals of life for those gay and young are alive and colorful; these things alone are strong enough to get me excited to read Crain’s first book, Necessary Errors. They just aren’t strong enough to salvage Overthrow. Ultimately a swing and a miss.
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  • Sharon S
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher Viking for the ARC and Goodreads for running the contest. I won Overthrow during a Goodreads contest and this is my honest review.This is a novel about relationships, stemming from romance, friendships, authority figures, and the legal system. The story begins with the relationship between Matthew and Leif, but later Matthew finds the only way for him to find and meet with Leif is at Elspeth's house, a tarot card reader, they all become friends. Then the story weaves i Thank you to the publisher Viking for the ARC and Goodreads for running the contest. I won Overthrow during a Goodreads contest and this is my honest review.This is a novel about relationships, stemming from romance, friendships, authority figures, and the legal system. The story begins with the relationship between Matthew and Leif, but later Matthew finds the only way for him to find and meet with Leif is at Elspeth's house, a tarot card reader, they all become friends. Then the story weaves in other characters, involving ESP, telepathy with predicting events that transpire into legal matters, with government control. There's a hacking into computer systems too. Variety of characters and subplots keep this story interesting.
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  • Aharon
    January 1, 1970
    On the one hand, it's a taut and careful novel. On the other hand, that taut care is wrapped in two hundred pages of additional mannered gauze. On the next hand, at least some of that gauze is intentional. On the final hand, that's too many hands.
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