I Am No One: Book summary and reviews of I Am No One by Patrick Flanery

I Am No One

by Patrick Flanery

I Am No One by Patrick Flanery X
I Am No One by Patrick Flanery
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  • Published Jul 2016
    352 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

A mesmerizing novel about memory, privacy, fear, and what happens when our past catches up with us.

After a decade living in England, Jeremy O'Keefe returns to New York, where he has been hired as a professor of German history at New York University. Though comfortable in his new life, and happy to be near his daughter once again, Jeremy continues to feel the quiet pangs of loneliness. Walking through the city at night, it's as though he could disappear and no one would even notice.

But soon, Jeremy's life begins taking strange turns: boxes containing records of his online activity are delivered to his apartment, a young man seems to be following him, and his elderly mother receives anonymous phone calls slandering her son. Why, he wonders, would anyone want to watch him so closely, and, even more upsetting, why would they alert him to the fact that he was being watched? 

As Jeremy takes stock of the entanglements that marked his years abroad, he wonders if he has unwittingly committed a crime so serious that he might soon be faced with his own denaturalization. Moving towards a shattering reassessment of what it means to be free in a time of ever more intrusive surveillance, Jeremy is forced to ask himself whether he is 'no one', as he believes, or a traitor not just to his country but to everyone around him.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is an excellent portrayal of a good man manipulated by others, without ever understanding why." - Publishers Weekly

"This is a worthy addition to the growing shelf on the erosion of personal privacy in the service of public security." - Kirkus

"In the end, this is a cautionary tale of the costs of a society giving up privacy for the sake of security. Recommended." - Library Journal

"A superbly entertaining novel. ... The tension is delicious. ... I Am No One's relevance today is without question, and its du jour subject matter is persuasively treated. It's also a brilliant work of suspense." - The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Flanery is a master of puzzling, alarming, and even terrifying storytelling... There are parts of the story that stand out as thrilling, next to other parts that are meditative, and others that are psychologically baffling... One of the pleasures of reading Flanery is the tussle between ways of understanding the shapes of stories and language." - The Guardian (UK)

"Flanery's brilliantly sly and funny book updates Nabokov's Cold War story of despotic power to the present day ... The fear that we are watched is no longer the province of isolated fantasists but a new fact of everyday life." - The Spectator (UK)

"A masterful plot, a terrifying subject, and a gripping read ... Patrick Flanery's topical, multi-layered novel probes the ubiquitous culture of surveillance today and its potential ramifications for a democratic society." - The Independent on Sunday (UK)

"Thoughtful, meticulously written, and slow burning ... A story that is a warning of the dangers of mass surveillance, but also a meditation on the frailty of individual identity when it is shaken by personal and social breakdown, and by the dislocation of expatriate life." - The Independent (UK)

"A taut, nervy, confident thriller for the surveillance age from a writer with an uncanny sense of the anxieties and fears that define the modern condition." - Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life

"A passionate, gripping, brilliantly voiced and scintillatingly intelligent novel about that cancer afflicting modern democratic states - the surveillance of its own people. Were we ever told that democracy would entail this? I Am No One will get under your skin, leave you jittery and unsettled, and have you looking over your shoulder." - Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

"This thrilling, unnerving novel defies genre and raises trenchant questions about privacy, identity, and fate. I Am No One is a disquieting must-read, a book to start right after you delete your browsing history and change all of your passwords." - Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This

"Patrick Flanery writes a coolly urbane and intelligent prose that keeps its structure and poise from first page to last. It's a prose marvelously suited to its material." - Lawrence Osborne, author of Hunters in the Dark

"A novel of Pynchonesque paranoid ideas, wrapped in psychologically acute Jamesian prose, delivered by a gripping story worthy of Graham Greene. I Am No One is itself profoundly observant about the post-Snowden culture of surveillance, and the insights of this unsettling novel are ignored at our own peril." - Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine

This information about I Am No One was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Beverly

Too Close for Comfort.
The writing is chock full of descriptors, asides, but never overbearing; simply lyrical. The subject is one we ALL need to consider...how paranoid does one need to be in this age of hyper (if sub rosa) surveillance ? "He is a completely ordinary American whose life is no longer private"... and how would I react if this was my story? I found this book to be intelligent, yet unnerving ...read at your own risk.

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Author Information

Patrick Flanery

Patrick Flanery was born in California and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. After earning a B.F.A. in Film from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, he worked in the film industry before moving to the U.K., where he completed a doctorate in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Oxford. He is the author of the novels Absolution, which was shortlisted for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Fallen Land. He has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Times Literary Supplement, and is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Reading.

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