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Transmission

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,509 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
Synopsis There's a message in your inbox. Then, a few moments later, your computer crashes. Leela Zahir, Bollywood actress and temperamental star, is being catapulted from the fringes of fame into a million inboxes. Arjun Mehta, computer geek, looks up from his screen to find that he does, after all, have a role to play in the world. Guy Swift, marketing executive with his ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
That’s Entertainment

Having read an excess of tortuous unreadababble Americocaine (anti-)novels this year, I picked up this book, thinking it would be serious literary fiction from a reputable (i.e., establishment) publisher.

Imagine my surprise when, for approximately 250 out of 280 pages, it turned out to be what Graham Greene would have called an "entertainment". Hari Kunzru is a master of fluent prose that, if not exactly silken in the manner of the pumped up William H. Gass, is at least uniqu
...more
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Transmit (transitive verb):
a : to send or convey from one person or place to another:
b : to cause or allow to spread: as
(1) : to convey by inheritance or heredity:
(2) : to convey (infection) abroad or to another


Kunzru's book covers the entirety of that definition. The lead character, Arjun Mehta, has been transmitted from India to America. He's attempting to transmit his ideas and desires through an entirely new cultural medium. In a desperate attempt not to be transmitted back to India, h
...more
Brent Legault
Reads like a college-class treatment for a movie I'd never want to see. Of the many, many examples of its otherworldly unwriterliness, here is one that particulary nettles:

He settled a pair of headphones into his ears and pressed play on his current favorite personal soundtrack, a mix by DJ Zizi, the resident at Ibiza superclub Ataxia. Zizi, who bestrode the Uplifting Ambient scene like a t-shirted colossus, had chosen to call his mix "Darker Shade of Chill." It was, Guy thought, a good name, be
...more
Pallavi Kamat
It's an interesting premise for sure. It would have been ideal if the book hadn't meandered as much as it did. I liked reading about the intersection of computer viruses, Bollywood & a high-flying businessman.

For those who follow Bollywood, the parts about Rajiv Rana will be easily recognisable.

It's a good book especially considering it was written in 2005 and some of the points he makes about migrants/refugees are something the world is dealing with even today!
Ivyclad Ideas
Arjun Mehta is a young Indian man trying to make his way in America who, in a moment of despair, makes a mistake that will change three lives.

Leela is a young woman trapped in the Bollywood film industry by her mother's desires. Arjun's actions will make her infamous.

On paper, Guy Swift is the high-flying owner of a tech company. In reality, he needs to cinch a deal within the next few weeks or his company will lose its funding. Arjun's actions will turn his life upside down.

Transmission is a st
...more
Ingrid
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think it was the shallowness of the cliched characters that most disappointed me. Indian geek, Bollywood starlet, PR exec and their families, friends, colleagues and associates - all seemingly drawn from central casting playing their expected parts against a predictable backdrop of computer viruses, nerddom, client pitches, film shoots and the high life. And then the author seems to succumb to E.M. Forster's mantra that “Nearly all novels are feeble at the end. This is because the plot require ...more
San
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I found myself quite entertained while reading the first half of the book. You can’t not love Arjun and Mrs Zahir. But Guy on the other hand was so horribly boring. I realise he wasn't meant to be an exciting element but i am sure there are ways to make a character colourful despite the obvious blah-ness. Like many of the other reviewers I found myself skimming through Guy's story because it really wasn't worth the effort. Having said that, I still think it’s a pretty decent book.
Nate D
Mar 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. This is what I get for blind-buying remaindered books on the basis of glowing blurbs. Pretty trivial young-hip-information-era-global-culture stuff. Linked in my head to other annoying satire in similar voices, like the Russian Debutante's Handbook, which I think most people actually like.
Selena
Sep 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on a whim, not having realized that Hari Kunzru is a critically acclaimed author thanks to his first book the Impressionist.

What actually made me want this book really badly was the New York Times review featured on the cover which stated that this book was:

"Wickedly astuste… starts out with an eye for literate social satire that suggests Martin Amis or Zadie Smith… winds up in a Chuck Palahniuk paranoid daydream."

Zadie Smith and Chuck Palahniuk. A dream coupling.

Transmissi
...more
Peter
Aug 19, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer

I use computers. I like computers. I study computers. It makes me sad when someone writes a book about a computer virus but is very fuzzy about what the effects of the virus are, how the transmission mechanics work, and how in the world a lone programmer with an arbitrary amount of experience could write something so effective. The point is of course that he didn't mean to do anything bad, and he's terribly sorry for the havoc he's wreaking on the world... but that begs the question as
...more
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Hari Mohan Nath Kunzru (born 1969) is a British novelist and journalist, author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission and My Revolutions. Of mixed English and Kashmiri Pandit ancestry, he grew up in Essex. He studied English at Wadham College, Oxford University, then gained an MA in Philosophy and Literature from Warwick University. His work has been translated into twenty languages. He li ...more
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“She thought she was a feminist. She was only bad tempered.” 3 likes
“Ti uspešni ljudi, muškarci i žene, bili su obučeni u ansamble grafitnosive i tamnoplave boje, kao simbole pouzdanosti i poštenja. To vidno polje sačinjeno od ozbiljne poslovne garderobe bilo je tek mestimično prošarano nekom dezeniranom kravatom ili komadom srebrnog nakita. Neki posmatrač pronicljiviji od Gaja lako bi zapazio nedokučivi karakter tih malih ličnih znakova, kao da ne predstavljaju autentična obeležja ličnog ukusa ili sklonosti, već se svode na čisto ritualnu funkciju, na teoretsku podršku individualizmu, a ne na njegov praktični izraz.” 1 likes
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