An "audacious" new novel from Ian McEwan, Machines Like Me, will be published by Jonathan Cape on 18th April next year.
Machines Like Me is set in an alternative 1980s London. 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.
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.
McEwan’s "subversive and entertaining" new novel is said to pose fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? And could a machine understand the human heart?
Cape associate publisher Dan Franklin has bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Peter Straus at Rogers Coleridge & White. Franklin said: "In pure storytelling terms this is a totally compulsive novel – funny, sorrowful and intensely engaging. A mystery, a love story, and one of the most morally layered books that Ian McEwan has written. This feels like the crucial novel for our times.’"
PRH US imprint Nan A Talese/Doubleday will publish simultaneously, as will Knopf Canada, on 23rd April..
McEwan's previous novel Nutshell, also audaciously told, with the voice of a foetus, sold has 47,953 in hardback and 83,085 copies in paperback via Nielsen BookScan's TCM.