The second novel from the Wellcome-Prize longlisted author of ASTROTURF
'Sly, subversive' Olivia Laing
'Outrageous' Luke Kennard
'Slightly too real' Kate Clanchy
Meet Ned and Alice: internet entrepreneurs with a delightfully demagnetised moral compass.
In Berlin, their combined talents have brought social media start-up, The Thing Factory, to the verge of lucrative success.
But Ned - a businessman with a history of shady dealings - is unhappy at his increasing lack of control in the company.
When he launches a new app designed to 'Uberize' the escort industry, he finds himself treading in murky waters, having disturbed the fabric of Berlin's underbelly. As his anxieties become harder to ignore, Alice's ambitions are meanwhile tempting her to jettison her own principles for a turn at the wheel...
Both a satire on the social media age and a fast-paced suspense novel, VIRAL is a nimble commentary on power and control, the lengths people will go to acquire both, and what is at stake when personality and sex are tradable commodities.
Nobody else could capture the tragedy, transience and absurdity of modern life quite like this - we need a new word: Sperlingarian, for novels this readable, this witty, this devastatingly insightful into the contemporary condition.
Slightly too real.
Clever and compelling, Sperling tightens the ratchet with a sure hand.