IF YOU CAME ACROSS AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING
AT 3 A.M. IN NEW YORK CITY . . .
WOULD YOU KEEP WALKING?
OR DO THE ONE THING THAT WOULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER?
The Carls just appeared . . .
While roaming the streets of New York City at 3 a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture she calls Carl. Delighted by its appearance - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life.
There are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an international media spotlight.
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us . . .
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with how the social internet is changing fame and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration can follow a life in the public eye.
'A fun, contemporary adventure that cares about who we are as humans, especially when faced with remarkable events' Kirkus (starred review)
'Hank Green hasn't just written a great mystery adventure (though he has), and he hasn't just written the most interesting meditation on the internet and fame I've ever seen (but he did that too), Hank has written a book [that] expands your mind while taking you on a hell of a ride' Joseph Fink, author of Welcome to Night Vale
'An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is pure book joy' Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Magicians Trilogy
'Fun and full of truth. To be honest, I'm a little irritated at how good the book is. I don't need this kind of competition' Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kingkiller Chronicles
The younger Vlogbrother (John Green is the other) draws on his passion for science and his experience as a "Tier 3" celebrity ("You'll probably trend on Twitter if you die") for a comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame. His main character, the unfortunately named April May, is a recent art-school grad who happens upon a 10-foot-tall robotic sculpture in the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. Entranced, she summons Andy, a classmate with a video camera, and the two introduce the figure they dub Carl to the world via YouTube. April May becomes a celebrity but soon discovers that dozens of Carls have appeared in cities across the globe. As she and her friends search for an explanation, she struggles with her newfound addiction to fame and the damage it causes to her most important relationships. April May's narration, which doesn't fully work, is both self-effacing and contradictory: she bemoans how much she enjoys fame while cynically crafting a message stressing community, which she determines will best resonate with her fans, thus growing her fame. Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans of Green's YouTube channel will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
You should read this. Its really really good. Trust me.
Excellent mystery, decent story and side characters, and a deeply unlikeable protagonist.
The main character, April, is one of the most unlikeable protagonists I have ever seen, and it's not due to poor writing, or lack of characterisation; the writing style, while not one I particularly like personally, is pretty good. The characterisation is extensive, but that only serves to make me hate her; from the very beginning, she is not relatable or likeable, and is self destructive to the point of being ludicrous. This would be fine if the character was portrayed as being mentally ill; but she is not. This leaves the reader feeling completely unsympathetic towards her.
The other characters lack any real depth, but are still somehow infinitely more relatable than April.
The mystery of the Carls themselves is a good one, and is the only reason to read this book. I'd recommend it, but only if you have a high tolerance what I've previously mentioned.