LOST IN ARCADIA
The America of 2037 is a country distracted by, infatuated with, and addicted to Arcadia.
The brainchild of reclusive genius Juan Diego Reyes, Arcadia is a wickedly immersive, all-encompassing social-media platform and virtual-reality interface. Although Arcadia has made the Reyes family fabulously wealthy, it’s left them—and the rest of the country—impoverished of that rare currency: intimacy. When Juan Diego mysteriously vanishes, the consequences shatter the lives of the entire Reyes clan.
As matriarch Autumn struggles to hold the family together, siblings Gideon, Holly, and Devon wrestle with questions of purpose and meaning—seeking self-worth in a world where everything has been cheapened. Outside the artificial safety of Arcadia, America has crumbled into an unrecognizable nation where a fundamentalist ex-preacher occupies the Oval Office, megacorporations blithely exploit their full citizenship, and a twenty-foot-high Great Wall of Freedom plastered with lucrative advertising bestrides the US-Mexican border.
In a polarized society now cripplingly hooked on manufactured highs, the Reyes family must overcome the seduction of simulation to find the kind of authentic human connection that offers salvation for all.
“Disturbingly timely … Gandert has quite a lot to say about human frailty and obsession, rampant consumerism, and, most importantly, interpersonal connection.“
– Publisher’s Weekly
“This novel is like if Sword Art Online and Stranger Things had a child, just so it could tell you a story about the future. This brilliant novel is about how what we love about games can become what we fear about the world, without our noticing, until it is done. Prescient, funny, smart, a story to disappear into and come out the other side.“
– Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh
“Sean Gandert has written an impressive first novel. It has a rare combination of vision and heart—not to mention a funny, scary dystopia that is both impressively imagined and dismayingly plausible.“
– Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
“Lost in Arcadia is such a rich, immersive experience, the virtual reality of the novel used to great effect. At its heart this is a tender family drama but it’s wrapped in a shell of computer simulations, online addiction, and societal collapse. Sean Gandert plays on the line between these poles with a sure hand. This is the debut of an author to watch.“
– Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
“Lost in Arcadia is a fascinating and ambitious first novel by a very talented writer. Its fast-moving narrative centers around the father, Juan Diego, who creates a game that compensates players according to the treasures they find and skill levels they achieve. When Juan Diego disappears, his family begins to disintegrate. Lost in Arcadia suggests that our technology hastens the breakdown of relationships and the fabric of society. This important and revealing theme makes the novel an indispensable read… By 2037 will we be masters of cyber-technology, or will we remain lost in arcadia?“
– Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me Utima and Albuquerque
“Lost in Arcadia is futuristic in its vision but wonderfully old-fashioned in its sprawling, complex plot and its fundamental commitment to character. This is a novel of real scope and ambition.“
– Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special and U.S.!
“Sean Gandert’s new book is a must-read, a gotta-read book, a go out and buy the damn thing. Once you buy it, share it, carry it in your backpack and tell your friends about it, you’re not going to get this kind of book in school, this is way ahead of school books, it dips into real life, it dives into the underworld of our feelings and holds you there, until you discover the pearls…“
– Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of A Place to Stand
“Lost in Arcadia is a challenging, dizzying cybernetic adventure, even for older readers who didn’t grow up with Mario Brothers and Game Boxes.“
– Enrique Lamadrid, author of Hermanitos Comanchitos