Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Hardcover)
One of "Time "Magazine's Ten Best Books of 2014
Selected by NPR, Slate, and Kirkus as one of the Best Books of 2014
Shortlisted for the Pacific Northwest Book Award
Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems--boredom, authenticity, an omnipotent online oligarchy--in David Shafer's darkly comic debut novel.
The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.
Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark's platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading--and erasing--Leo's words. On the other side of the world, Leila's discoveries about the Committee's far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her.
In the spirit of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is both a suspenseful global thriller and an emotionally truthful novel about the struggle to change the world in- and outside your head.
About the Author
David A. Shafer is Assistant Professor of Modern European History and Director of the Interdisciplinary French Studies Major at California State University, Long Beach.
"Hilarious, moving, and wildly ambitious, David Shafer's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot reads like a plot against America dreamed up by the NSA and then ghostwritten by Don DeLillo-a love story-cum-international thriller about our surveillance society that's so convincingly paranoid you'll tape over your webcam. Forget debut: it marks the arrival of a major new writer."—Adam Ross, Author of Mr. Peanut
"Roaming from Burma to Oregon to a mysterious ship in the open ocean, David Shafer's debut novel is a stylish, absorbing, sharply modern hybrid of techno thriller and psychodrama that bristles with wit and intellect and offers a dark, incisive vision of the global consequences of turning our lives into collectable data. This book will stay with you long after you've finished it." —Maggie Shipstead, author of Astonish Me
"Outlandishly clever. Evoking the technological-paranoia of Philip K. Dick and the verbal pyrotechnics of David Foster Wallace, Shafer's digital take-over is absurdly comical and all too familiar. The characters are complicated, fascinating, and fully engaging while the threats feel frighteningly real."—Joe Meno, author of The Great Perhaps
"David Shafer's amazing debut novel should be a controlled substance, its addictive quotient of the highest order. I devoured it imagining this is what a brainstorming event between Thomas Pynchon and Edward Snowden would deliver."—Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
"Hilarious and chilling, fast-paced and thoughtful, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is literary entertainment of the highest order. While the novel reads like a comic thriller, it speaks powerfully to our over-connected, over-watched, privacy-depleted moment. I admire the hell out of it."—Ken Kalfus, National Book Award nominated author of Equilateral
"A Graham Greene novel written by Edward Snowden. The Anonymous novel I have been waiting for -- a stiletto thriller of the too-real panopticon digitizing our every breath nowadays."—Tom Paine, author of Scar Vegas
"David Shafer's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is outlandishly clever. Evoking the technological-paranoia of Philip K. Dick and the verbal pyrotechnics of David Foster Wallace, Shafer's digital take-over is absurdly comical and all too familiar. The characters are complicated, fascinating, and fully engaging while the threats feel frighteningly real."—Joe Meno, author of The Great Perhaps