Neill Bassett is a 30-something former businessman living in San Francisco, inputting his dead father’s incredibly detailed journals into a supercomputer for Amiante Systems, a company that hopes to use them to win an artificial intelligence contest. Add in a high-school dropout, a beautiful ex-wife Neill can’t stop running into and a sex cult, and you’ve got the strange yet beautiful interworkings of Scott Hutchins’ debut novel, A Working Theory of Love.

The idea of a grown man receiving closure from a supercomputer acting as his father sounds more comical than poignant, but readers will be unable to put the book down as the conversations between man and machine grow more intimate, and Neill is forced to deal with the pain of his father’s suicide. Questions about the nature of humanity and love are expertly explored in this impressive debut.

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