Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.
Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.
‘This is new and exciting ground for McEwan, one of Britain's most consistently brilliant writers.’ Esquire
"Machines Like Me reminds us that McEwan is once-in-a-generation talent, offering readerly pleasure, cerebral incisiveness and an enticing imagination." (Lara Feigel Spectator)
"[Machines Like Me] is right up there with his very best [novels]. Machines Like Me manages to combine the dark acidity of McEwan’s great early stories with the crowd-pleasing readability of his more recent work. A novel this smart oughtn’t to be such fun, but it is." (Alex Preston Observer)
"Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me is a dazzling account of our interaction with technology… He marries a gripping plot, handled with rarefied skill and dexterity, to a deep excavation of the narrowing gap between the canny and the uncanny, leaving the reader pleasurably dizzied, and marvelling at human existence." (Philip Womack Independent)
"Compelling… unforgettably strange… there are many pleasures and many moments of profound disquiet in this book, which reminds you of its author’s mastery of the underrated craft of storytelling… [Machines Like Me] is morally complex and very disturbing, animated by a spirit of sinister and intelligent mischief that feels unique to its author." (Marcel Theroux Guardian)
"[McEwan's] fierce intelligence [crackles] like a Jumping Jack on Bonfire Night… Arguably the finest English writer of his generation, the ideas he explores are important, now more that ever." (Richard Dismore Daily Express)
"[McEwan is] as mordant a chronicler of the age as we have… Machines Like Me offers as good a primer on the multifarious anxieties that should afflict us all as anything catalogued as “non-fiction”." (Bill Prince GQ)
"Machines like Me displays… impressive richness. Excited by ideas and perceptive about emotions, encompassing cutting-edge science, philosophical speculation and lively social observation, it is funny, thought-provoking and politically acute… In this bravura performance, literary flair and cerebral sizzle winningly combine." (Peter Kemp Sunday Times)
"McEwan knows all the novelistic rules… [and his] restlessness when it comes to subject matter, even as he enters his seventies, is stunning… [Machines Like Me] shimmer[s] with relevance." (Janan Ganesh Financial Times)
"[Machines Like Me] traverses the muddled morality of Artificial Intelligence... This is new and exciting ground for McEwan, one of Britain's most consistently brilliant writers." (Olivia Ovenden Harper's Bazaar, *The Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2019*)
"In this sublimely playful novel… there isn’t a page that fails to make you think, or make you smile." (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)