Sensation Machines

Adam Wilson (Author)


A razor-sharp, darkly funny, and deeply human rendering of a Post-Trump America in economic free fall

Michael and Wendy Mixner are a Brooklyn-based couple whose marriage is failing in the wake of a personal tragedy. Michael, a Wall Street trader, is meanwhile keeping a secret: he lost the couple's life savings when a tanking economy caused a major market crash. And Wendy, a digital marketing strategist, has been hired onto a data-mining project of epic scale, whose mysterious creator has ambitions to solve a national crisis of mass unemployment and reshape America's social and political landscapes. When Michael's best friend is murdered, the evidence leads back to Wendy's client, setting off a dangerous chain of events that will profoundly change the couple--and the country.

Set in an economic dystopia that's just around the corner, Sensation Machines is both an endlessly twisty novel of big ideas, and a brilliantly observed human drama that grapples with greed, automation, universal basic income, wearable tech, revolutionary desires, and a broken justice system. Adam Wilson implicates not only the powerbrokers gaming the system and getting rich at the intersection of Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Silicon Valley, and Capitol Hill, but all of us: each one of us playing our parts, however willingly or unwillingly, in the vast systems that define and control our lives.

Product Details

$27.00  $24.84
Soho Press
Publish Date
July 07, 2020
5.7 X 1.3 X 8.5 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen, which was an Indie Next Pick and a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, as well as the short story collection What's Important Is Feeling. His is the recipient of The Paris Review's Terry Southern Prize for Humor, and his work has appeared in Harper's, Tin House, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories, among other publications. Wilson has taught in the creative writing programs at Columbia and NYU. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.


Praise for Sensation Machines

"With remarkable grace and wit, Adam Wilson puts the stethoscope to our national heart and diagnoses our deepest ills."
--Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Intimations

"Sensation Machines is pitch dark and pitch perfect--a whip-smart take on marriage, capitalism, grief, and loneliness in a farcical, not-so-distant future. Adam Wilson effortlessly toggles between wry humor and genuine existential dread; the result is lyrical and lewd, brilliant and bleak."
--Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

"Adam Wilson is a prose savant, and Sensation Machines is a not-so-small miracle. With its precise details about our current moment, profusion of voice and sound, Wilson's new novel brings to mind everyone from Saul Bellow to Paul Beatty, Grace Paley to Zadie Smith. But his ideas and his syntax and his humor are entirely his. This is a great book by one of our funniest smartest sharpest contemporary novelists."
--Daniel Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West and Boomer 1

"Sensation Machines is precision-engineered to entertain, enlighten, and unsettle. Adam Wilson is a master craftsman with a globe-sized heart."
--Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers

"Sensation Machines is part techno-political thriller, part social satire, and part family drama, and it succeeds wonderfully on all fronts. The book is smart, funny, and fast-paced, with lots to say about the mess we're in, but the thing that has stayed with me is its heart. Adam Wilson exemplifies that old Pynchonian dictum: Keep cool, but care."
--Christopher Beha, author of The Index of Self-Destructive Acts

"Wilson's observations are often sharp-witted, extracting humor from sources like video game addiction, cryptocurrency, and herd mentality . . . as Michael and Wendy's marriage fractures, the author carefully braids their individual narratives to a satisfying, if inevitable, crescendo. This feels all too real."
--Publisher's Weekly

"A deft juxtaposition of contemporary American classes on par with Richard Price's Lush Life."
--Kirkus Reviews