Riverbend's May Book of the Month

Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a confounding 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. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma.

Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.

Why We Chose this Book

We probably have to confess from the get go that 90% of staff here love Ian McEwan’s books. We would probably enjoy reading his shopping lists. However there is nothing as banal as a shopping list in this story. The characters fairly leap from the page - our rather hapless Charlie, the enigmatic Miranda and of course Adam - our haiku writing robot.

We know many customers love McEwan too. For those of you who are McEwan fence sitters and don’t like it when he writes an anti-hero as the central character, or gets a bit showy-offy with his rapid fire prose - we can reassure you that Machines Like Me is actually McEwan at his very best. Entertaining, thought-provoking, a writing style that is masterful, restrained and elegant. We can’t recommend this novel enough. It is a book for our times.