Geek hacks girlfriend problem in alum Gabriel Roth's acclaimed debut novel

Friday, September 27, 2013
Gabriel Roth. Photo by Melissa Stewart.

Young Silicon Valley millionaire Eric Muller has struggled to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. That is how the description to alumnus Gabriel Roth’s debut novel begins. Written as his Master of Fine Arts thesis project in Creative Writing, The Unknowns follows a brilliant technology geek who has yet to master the nuances of and romance and social conversation.

Published this summer, The Unknowns (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown and Company) has garnered widespread critical praise.

“Mr. Roth’s remarkably funny, tender book is much more than one code-writing kid’s success story,” Janet Maslin writes in The New York Times. “As its title indicates, The Unknowns is about how Eric grows up trying to fathom those things he doesn’t naturally understand. Among them: girls, courtship, sex, the family unit, how to pursue the truth using nonscientific methods and how to make small talk.”

A starred Publisher’s Weekly review states: “Wry observational humor and captivating internal monologues make this promising new voice reminiscent of Ben Lerner and Joshua Ferris.”

Roth (M.F.A., ’09) knows quite a bit about technology and Silicon Valley himself. He is a software developer, and was a reporter and editor for The San Francisco Bay Guardian during the first dot-com boom. Born and raised in London, he now lives in Brooklyn.


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