“A vast, beguiling…postmodern novel of ideas, misread intentions, and robots, told in words, pictures, symbols, and even blank pages” by the author of Well (Kirkus).
Rooted in the western United States in the decade after 9/11, Matthew McIntosh’s epic and elliptical novel follows a young writer and his wife as he attempts to write the follow-up to his first novel. He desperately searches for a form that will express the world as it has become, even as it continually shifts all around him.
Pop-up ads, search results, web chats, snippets of conversation, lines of code, and film and television stills mix with alchemical manuscripts, classical works of literature—and the story of a man who wakes up one morning having lost his memory. His only clue to his own identity is a single blank document on his computer called theMystery.doc. From text messages to The Divine Comedy, first love to artificial intelligence, the book explores what makes us human—the stories we tell, the memories we hold on to, the memories we lose—and the relationships that give our lives meaning.
Part love story, part memoir, part documentary, part existential whodunit, theMystery.doc is a modern epic about the quest to find something lasting in a world where everything—and everyone—is in danger of slipping away.
“McIntosh is a slacker Proust, writing about the underclass of Spokane rather than the upper classes of Paris as he attempts to convert memories and experience into art…a remarkable achievement.”—Steven Moore, Washington Post