Hailed as a modern day Catcher in the Rye, Matthew Selwyn’s acclaimed debut novel ‘****, or, The Anatomy of Melancholy’ is a startling look into the addled mind of a young man hooked on the culture of the internet and desperately reaching out for human connection. Encompassing some of the biggest themes of the digital age – isolation, mental illness, the nature of reality, relationships, and the root of both love and hate – Matthew Selwyn’s stunning debut novel has been described by ‘The Lancet: Psychiatry’ as "... a well-crafted book, a bleak yet thought-provoking portrayal of a character whose very superficiality leaves us eager to find out what horrors lie beneath the surface..."
Written with verve and originality, ‘****, or, The Anatomy of Melancholy’ marks the emergence of a major new talent in literary fiction, a voice both “tough and empathetic”. Selwyn’s writing is reminiscent of the “savageness of ‘American Psycho’ and the nihilism of some of the twentieth century’s greatest existentialists” but mixed with a “lightness of touch that rivals Douglas Coupland’s comic approach to ‘digital fiction’.” Brutal and honest, amused and appalled, this is “the kind of novel that can inspire laughter and anxiety with a single sentence... horrifying, hilarious and evocative” (Emily May, #1 Goodreads UK reviewer). A must read for the twenty-first century reader.
PRAISE FOR ‘****, OR, THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY’:
An early champion of the book, novelist Peter Maughan wrote: "there's a talent burning away throughout this work like a slow fuse... Matthew Selwyn is an emerging major writer." Since then a number of authors have praised the book, with internationally-published novelist Bob Van Laerhoven offering a glowing review: “The novel develops a disturbing, very modern and ambiguous theme, evoking the sinister, lonely, “wolf-eat-wolf” lifestyle of young people in the 21th century. Gradually, the dark humour and the cynical view on life evolve into something deeper, a hidden melancholy, a muffled cry of pain. The mysterious girlfriend Lexi fades slowly into a pixel-portrait, the protagonist into a young man who’s nearly cracking under the load of the digital world’s demands and illusions. And then there’s the style, the icing on the cake for me: from laconic, to Hollywood blockbuster-jibe, from street-wise philosophy to subtle, lyrical undertones. A complex, disturbing, compelling debut.”