Like Douglas Coupland's Generation X, this novel captures a cultural moment. Kitab is as fully plugged in to the grid as it's possible to be, obsessively checking and updating his many channels of connection to the vast community "out there". A writer snagged on that difficult second novel, he's a world-class timewaster (whose time-wasting neatly and entertainingly expands to fill the pages of this second novel).
He and his brother Aziz are obsessed with their internet doppelgangers, and when Kitab's only known namesake turns up in London from Bangalore, the concept of identity theft spills messily out into the "meatspace", that neglected place where things really happen. There's no need to be alienated by Meatspace's uber-cool language or attitude, if it isn't already your milieu – go with it, be exhilarated by it, laugh at it (and with it), then delete your Facebook account. Stop tweeting pictures of your lunch. Like Coupland, Shukla has the crucial distance from his world to invest it with the aching pathos of being simultaneously desirable and hatefully vacuous. Highly enjoyable and salutary.
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