Set in a near-future tech-ruled world, LONELINESS & COMPANY is about a loveable weirdo tasked with teaching an AI to be human who becomes more open to the world in the process.
LONELINESS & COMPANY
by Charlee Dyroff
Bloomsbury, May 2024
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)
Lee graduated from the top of her class at the Program and expected a placement at a top company. Instead she’s sent to collect data for a company nobody’s ever heard of that’s trying to teach an AI to act as “a true friend.” Lee begins voyeuristically: gathering information online and observing her outgoing roommate Veronika. But then the team learns that their company is secretly trying to cure loneliness, an emotion erased from society decades ago but somehow returned and spreading rapidly; the “true friend” AI is one of the few tech ventures that hasn’t yet failed. The company becomes desperate. Lee’s pressured into not just inputting data she finds online, but giving the AI the data of her own real-world experiences. She’s pushed into a zany mindset of chasing experiences to feed the AI.
LONELINESS & COMPANY will appeal to fans of Hilary Leichter’s Temporary and the bizarre humor of living in a tech-ruled world of Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This. It’s thematically kin to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and the work of Alexandra Kleeman.
“Naturally intelligent. An inventive, timely, and perceptive story about human connection and being alive.” —Emily Austin, author of Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead
“Tender and hopeful, Dyroff’s story glimmers with humor, empathy, and profound insights into the inner workings of the human heart and psyche.” —Gina Chung, author of Sea Change and Green Frog
“This is a tender, visionary, wide-hearted book that offers itself as a course corrective to our hyper-quantified, algorithm-craven age.” —Hermione Hoby, author of Virtue
Charlee Dyroff is a writer from Boulder, Colorado. She received an MFA from Columbia University and some of her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Lapham’s Quarterly, Guernica, The Best American Food Writing of 2019, and elsewhere.