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Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler review – internet secrets and lies

An American millennial discovers her boyfriend is a conspiracy theorist in this brilliant debut about online and IRL experience

Speaking at an event in 2016, Sally Rooney said: “I don’t know how I could possibly make literary the time I waste on Facebook. It’s possible that a really good writer could actually make that very interesting. But for me, the endless scroll […] it’s really difficult to elevate that to something beautiful.” We have been waiting for the novel that makes literary the endless scroll. With Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts, we may have found it. It’s a brilliant comic novel about the ways in which the internet muddles all of our interior rivers while at the same time polluting the seas of the outer world, and about how these processes might be one and the same thing. Arriving in the same month as Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This, it might just help to usher in the Age of Actually Good Novels About the Internet – and not a moment too soon.

The narrator of Fake Accounts is female, millennial, Brooklyn-based, admitting to an “embarrassment of privileges”, avowedly “teetering […] on the border between likeable and loathsome”. She is very aware of her status as the narrator of a novel. Sections are called things like “Beginning” or “Middle (Something Happens)”. There is an imagined audience of ex-boyfriends. I’m making it sound cutesily postmodern, or emptily parodic, but it’s neither.

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