26 June, 2015

#BookReview :: ****: The Anatomy of Melancholy by Matthew Selwyn

Reality is overrated. Sex, love, power, life: it's gone digital. Why settle for a girlfriend with cellulite? Why spend every day working a dead-end job? These are the new days, the infinite days: plug in, get connected. Life is porn, porn is life, don't accept anything less than the electric light show that is our digital reality. At the end of every computer screen, a mind is being formed on the material coughed up by the web that connects us all: this is the story of one of the internet's children, told from his own warped perspective. This is the millennial generation, the Y generation: we're horny, lonely, afraid, and self-confident. This is our story, our reality. Thrillingly inventive and powerfully engaging, ****: The Anatomy of Melancholy is a timely examination of life and masculinity in the digital age, a study of loneliness and mental decay, and a satire on the consumption of literature of disaffection. Brutally honest and darkly comic, it is a very modern novel about a very modern life.

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This is a book like no other that I have read before. It is so unique at so many levels.

This time around, I am not going to give a summary of the book in my review, as I fear that – one, I will give out spoilers, and two, I feel that I will not be able to do justice to the book. Instead, all I will say is that the last line of the book blurb, ‘it is a very modern novel about a very modern life’, sums up the book just perfectly.

Let me start with the things that make this book stand out. First of all, there are no chapters in the book. Yes, that’s right. The whole big is just one BIG chapter. Add the author’s informal and friendly narration style, this book feels like a conversation between buddies. Then there’s the matter of the title – not that I expect many people to agree with me on this, but to me it felt like a title of a classic book with heavy content that fire debates and discussion. Well, the second part about heavy content and firing discussions turned out to be true, only this is a modern novel that talks about modern times.

The protagonist is someone who almost demands your hatred and empathy at the same time. His unpretentious and honest narration will draw you in and while some of the things will almost disgust you, some things will bring out your philosophical side. No matter which emotion this book evokes in you the strongest, it will be impossible to deny that it truly reflects the modern society of the 21st century. I absolutely loved the author’s take and his matured interpretation.

From the photo on the cover, it looks like the author is still pretty young. And that impressed me on two levels. Firstly, the quality of his writing and content shows maturity. Secondly because it gives me hope for both for literature world and the world in general.

A fantastic debut!

Review Copy received from the Author


  1. Oooh thank you for sharing, this seems like a possible read for myself at some point.
    Lauren @ Northern Plunder

  2. I think I'll read this. Thanks for the review.