Published by
Vintage (February 2019)
Current material
Final PDF


by Mendelsund, Peter

The fiction debut from the LA Times bestselling author of What We See When We Read—a novel of ideas set in a mysterious institute in the desert.

In the shifting desert sands on the outskirts of a Middle Eastern city sits a mysterious Institute, where Fellows in every field of knowledge and endeavor under the (inhospitably hot) sun work on Projects and give Discourses(TM) and dedicate themselves to copying, cloning, replicating, and reproducing a world to which none of them seem to have any intention of returning. Same Same is Percy Frobisher's account of his tenure as a Fellow at the Institute, and his attempt to realize—or is it simulate?--his own audacious Project. Imagining a world in which simulacra have as much value as the real--so much so that any distinction between the two vanishes, and even language seeks to reproduce meaning through ever more degraded copies of itself—Peter Mendelsund has crafted a deeply unsettling novel about what it means to exist, and to create . . . and a future that may not be far off.

Peter Mendelsund is a writer, designer and Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf. His jacket designs have been described by The Wall Street Journal as being “the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction” - among the many recognizable jackets he has created are those for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; collections of the works of Joyce and Kafka; and the contemporary works of Martin Amis and Tom McCarth, among many others. He is the author of two non-fiction books, Cover, and What We See When We Read, which was an LA Times bestseller and a San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus best book of the year.

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Like an ever-shifting Rubik's Cube, Mendelsund's narrative blends influences and genres at will: it begins as an sf dystopia, unfurls like a mystery, and includes some deeply insular sections reminiscent of the late David Markson Mendelsund has created a dense, complex, and rewarding novel that explores the ever-hazier distinctions between copying and creating, between ourselves and our ubiquitous devices, and between what is real and what is simulated.

Review: Booklist

Absurdist, uncanny metafiction about the nature of identity, individuality, and authorship in an era of rapid technological advancement.

Review: Publishers Weekly

A deeply inventive and wonderfully strange novel that takes dead aim at the question: does it matter if something's real? (Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation)

Quote: Blurb

Same Same reaches literary heights Mendelsund's first novel manages to be breezy and profound in equal measure. That balance is—as the programmers say—a feature and not a bug Same Same is a substantial book about emptiness. It reminds us that there's no here here unless we create it ourselves... [And it includes] one of the most perfectly tuned passages of fiction I've read in a very long time.

Review: The New York Times

Most books aspire to imitate life; this one succeeds in imitating literature. A fractal abyss of copies copying copies, this brilliant and hilarious full-size replica of a novel exposes the limits of conventional narratives by miraculously transmuting repetition into difference and, ultimately, something unique. (Hernán Diaz, author of In the Distance)

Quote: Blurb

A grand time... Mendelsund's novel of ideas makes a neat bookend to Richard Powers's Galatea 2.2 as a study of creation in the age of the smart machine. (starred review)

Review: Kirkus Reviews

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