Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon


About The Word Exchange

A dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange offers an inventive, suspenseful, and decidedly original vision of the dangers of technology and of the enduring power of the printed word.

My Review

This book served as a reminder of how much we rely on technology. Look around, you rarely see a person without a cellphone, MP3 player at least etc clutched in their hand. Imagine a day without our beloved electronic devices, jeez we’d actually have to interact face to face like they did in the dinosaur days. Interesting premise leaving you thinking.

The layout was clever, each chapter is a letter from the alphabet. The perspectives are from Anana and Bart leaving you with plenty to digest. I was intrigued by the story and couldn’t wait to see where each chapter would lead.

I enjoyed the story, however, it started out slow, dragged a bit eventually picking up. It could be shorter and a few unnecessary areas less detailed allowing for a quicker pace engaging the reader earlier and maintaining captivation. The excessive footnotes drove me crazy, very distracting, ignoring them completely. Overkill. Not a fan.

In the end I craved tangible items containing words, MORE physical books, actual letters, a phone book, encyclopedia, dictionary. Imagine a world without printed words? Halting and terrifying. Straightaway I’m rethinking my technological dependence, great job on Graedon’s part.

About Alena Graedon7177780

Alena Graedon was born in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Carolina Friends School, Brown University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has worked at Columbia, Knopf, and the PEN American Centre.

The Word Exchange, her first novel, was completed with the help of fellowships at several artist colonies, including MacDowell, Ucross and Yaddo.

Translated into eight languages, it was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and a Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2014.

Her non-fiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review, The Believer magazine and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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