Okay, so our wonderful almost-a-son-in-law, Zakary Kendall, loaned us the SUPER book called STONER (a guy’s name, not my preferred sta– never mind). It was one of the New York Times Book Review’s publications.
So Charlie looked into those publications and joined the New York Review Books‘s Book Subscription. Every month, they send you one of their books. You don’t choose the books; they just come.
The first one he got was THE CONTINUOUS KATHERINE MORTENHOE by D. G. Compton (link is to IndieBound independent book sellers).
I loved it! Charlie didn’t like it as much, liking it less and less as it went on because it wasn’t what he thought it was going to be. He wanted it to be a scathing indictment of our loss of privacy, and saw any other part of it as rambling.
It does address our surrender of privacy in a near future setting — prescient, given that it was written in 1974.
The scope of the story is both greater and more intimate than that, though. It deals with identity, the continuity and disjunction between who we are at one point in our lives and a different point, between who we believe we are and who we really are when the rubber meets the road.
There are two points of view. One POV character is a journalist who hopes to host a reality show featuring the title character; he’s had an enhancement that makes him a living camera; he, appropriately, tells his part of the story in first person.
Katherine Mortenhoe’s part of the story, again appropriately (even though she’s the title character), is told in third person; she’s the subject and object of other people’s plans and hopes, although she defies any machinations she detects.
The shifts of attitudes and relationships are sometimes abrupt and shocking, sometimes subtle and sly. By the end, when the journalist rejects his concept of “the one, true, continuous Katherine Mortonhoe,” the reader (this reader, anyway) feels that it’s exactly what Compton has triumphed in describing, that our continuity IS the sum total of our disjunctions.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your character realizes someone targets him/her for a scheme.