The Word Exchange: A Novel – Alena Graedon

word exchangeWhen Ana’s father inexplicably disappears, she tries desperately to find out what has happened to him, following obscure clues that only cause her more confusion. In a world where the written word is becoming obsolete her father is an anomaly. He is a man who felt the loss of books and letters, libraries and stamps, maps and take-out menus. He is the editor of the soon to be published North American Dictionary of the English Language and Ana cannot believe that he would voluntarily leave when such an important event was about to happen.

The setting is in the near future . . . perhaps the day after tomorrow. Everyone completely relies on their android phones, called Memes. These Memes are intuitive: ordering food, monitoring health and supplying meds, suggesting clothing, turning on appliances, calling friends. Whatever is needed is supplied before it’s needed and people are totally dependent on their Memes. Life is good. Well, it’s good until people begin to have little slips in their conversations, speaking gibberish. Then when the “word flu” infects large groups, communication breaks down and chaos erupts.

This is a book for people who still love the written word and feel sorry for those who will never receive a hand written note of condolence when a loved one dies, or a happy note of congratulations for things well done, or will never know the pleasure of turning the pages of a brand new book.

eGalley review Publication date 4.8.14

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