XYZ by William Knight
Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.
When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.
Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?
XYZ is for every Gen-Xer who ever struggled with a device, and for everyone else who loves emojis ... said no one ever.
Jack reminds me of Billy Bib Thornton in Bad Santa or Goliath. He is such a loveable rogue, and being inside his head is funny, sad, and slightly disturbing, but oh so relateable.
I grew up in the same era as Jack; I understand the references, his frustrations, his incredulity at... everything. OMG, I even get the "That'll do pig" reference, because I use it myself! Arrggh. I think. I might be Jack.
Then there's the incredibly darkly humorous situation with the son. What really worries me, is that it could be real. Dear, God, but I couldn't stop chuckling. The author's humour is so dry it belongs in the Sahara, and the tone is firmly tongue-in-cheek.
This book should be compulsory reading for Millenials and beyond, with the warning that this will happen to them, too - they'll wake up one day and find that technology (and possibly like itself) has become suddenly unfathomable!
Not my usual read, but highly recommended nevertheless; especially for the 50+. Smiley face.
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About the Author
William Knight is British born writer and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s chased a portfolio career which began in acting, progressed to music, flirted with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology in the late nineties. “I had my first feature published in Computing magazine back in 2003 and subsequently wrote about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. I now work as an IT consultant, and write blistering content for technology firms :-)” says William The Donated (formerly Generation), his debut novel and a Sci-tech Thriller, started in 2001 and was ten years in development. XYZ, “A mid-life crisis with a comic vein”, took far less time. “But I think it’s funnier and better. Yay. Jazz hands!”
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