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The Mutual Friend

"This smart dissection of the current Age of Distraction is a well-observed, thought-provoking, character-driven debut."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Written by the co-creator of TV hit How I Met Your Mother, Carter Bay’s The Mutual Friend is an original, thought-provoking debut that captures the complex webs of modern living and loving with heart, humour and a whole lot of meaningful observations.

Behind the huge cast of characters is a backdrop of two lived worlds – one physical, the other lived through phone screens, and this sets the stage for a multi-layered story that plays out against this duality of modern life – the Age of Distraction.

It’s the summer of 2015 in New York, and 28-year-old Alice is determined to finally make something of her life. After enrolling to take the MCAT exam that’ll set her on a path to becoming a doctor, she resolves to accept no distractions. But the problem is, everything is a distraction, not least her unruly new roommate and the possibility of love.

Meanwhile, Alice’s hugely wealthy brother is setting out on a spiritual journey, with the narrative perspective jumping back and forth many times over. Indeed, one of this novel’s defining characteristics - and triumphs - is how it skips points of view. While this is a little disorienting to begin with, it’s not long before this structure feels right. Characters pop on and off the page as they do in life, with deep, idiosyncratic human connections revealed alongside satirical commentary on what it means to live online, and through social media. Moreover, this structure also cleverly exposes and subverts its subject matter through jumpy distractions that demand attention.

Joanne Owen

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