“The nonfiction novel of our moment.”—Jonathan Lethem
A wide-ranging, rule-bending collection from “a major American writer” (The New York Times)—reclaiming the power of attention in an age of constant distraction
One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists, Joshua Cohen arrives with his first collection of nonfiction, the culmination of two decades of writing and thought about life in the digital age. In essays, memoir, criticism, diary entries, and letters—many appearing here for the first time—Cohen covers the full depth and breadth of modern life: politics, literature, art, music, travel, the media, and psychology, and subjects as diverse as Google, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, fictional animals, Gustav Mahler, Aretha Franklin, John Zorn, landscape photography, fake Caravaggios, Wikipedia, Gertrude Stein, Edward Snowden, Jonathan Franzen, Olympic women’s fencing, Atlantic City casinos, the closing of the Ringling Bros. circus, and Azerbaijan.
Throughout ATTENTION, Cohen directs his sharp gaze at home and abroad, calling upon his extraordinary erudition and unrivaled ability to draw connections between seemingly unlike things to show us how to live without fear in a world overflowing with information. In each piece, he projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his, and a voice as witty, profound, and distinct as any in American letters.
At this crucial juncture in history, ATTENTION is a guide for the perplexed—a handbook for anyone hoping to bring the wisdom of the past into the culture of the future.
Praise for ATTENTION
“Dazzling in its scope . . . If curiosity is a writer’s greatest innate gift, Joshua Cohen may be America’s greatest living writer.”—The Washington Post
“Prescient . . . Attention reveals a fresh, vital literary voice as it covers seemingly every imaginable topic relating to modern life, both at home and abroad.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Whip-sharp . . . Cohen here flaunts a next-level virtuosity across countless fields of expertise. . . . [He] is a phenomenal thinker whatever the theme whatever the subject: granular, acrobatic, startling.”—The Guardian
“As off-kilter and thought-provoking as [Cohen’s] novels . . . Fans of David Foster Wallace and William T. Vollmann will revel in Cohen’s playful erudition, versatility, and dark humor.”—Booklist (starred review)
“These essays are the cat’s meow.”—Kirkus Reviews