Loneliness & Company (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

How do you define loneliness? Lee doesn't even know this word as it's been removed from society completely. Taking away the word doesn't seem to have eradicated it, however, and through her Placement, Lee is made to help create an AI that will solve the problem of loneliness, once and for all. The world is depending on her, and she needs to be the best. So, how can she say no? This amazing read will pull you in and never let go, even after you finish reading it. Automatic 10/10 in my book.

— Kalli

Set in an undetermined tech driven future, Lee is a highly motivated and talented researcher who is drafted for an unknown project--a study on the exiled emotion of loneliness. As a part of a team looking to build an AI friend (Vicky) to combat this unmentionable malady, Lee gets sucked into the real world of what it means to be human, what it means to be lonely, and how we navigate feelings that we cannot quantify. This book is fast paced, engaging, and keeps you guessing until the very end.

— Rebecca G

May 2024 Indie Next List

“Lee is an overachiever, but when she’s hired to teach an AI program the meaning of loneliness, her life skills are challenged. Dyroff draws an artful and memorable portrait of a woman trying to find answers in a world consumed by technology.”
— Manda Riggs, Elm Street Books, New Canaan, CT


A timely, beautifully observed debut novel set in near future New York about a young woman who finds herself tangled in a secret Government project combating loneliness.

Lee knows she's the best. A professor favorite and fellowship winner, there's no doubt she'll land one of the coveted jobs at a Big Five corporation. So when, upon graduating, Lee is instead assigned to an unknown company in the dead city of New York, her life goals are completely upended.

In this new role, Lee's task is to gather enough research to train an AI how to be a friend. She begins online and by studying the social circle of her clueless, outgoing roommate Veronika. But when the company reveals it's part of a classified government mission to solve loneliness-an emotion erased from society's lexicon decades ago-Lee's determination to prove herself kicks into overdrive, and she begins chasing bolder and more dangerous experiences to provide data for the AI.

How far will Lee go to teach the algorithm? As the mysterious affliction spreads, Lee must decide what she's willing to give up for success and, along the way, learn what it means to be a true friend.

Loneliness & Company is an enchanting, gorgeously written novel about finding meaning and connection in a world beset by isolation.

About the Author

Charlee Dyroff has an MFA from Columbia University, and her work has appeared in Slate, Gulf Coast, Lapham's Quarterly, Guernica, Ploughshares, Eater, and The Best American Food Writing of 2019. She lives in New York.

Praise For…

“Dyroff's near future-set book is a bewitching story about technology and isolation. It will grip readers with mesmerizing writing and a tautly-paced plot.” —Debutiful, “Most Anticipated Debut Books of 2024”

“Inventive . . . The novel's view of the future is particularly distinct in its depictions of dating life . . . Dyroff nails the ways in which single-minded ambition can obscure opportunities for connection. This brims with clear insight and unsettling visions of the world to come.” —Publishers Weekly

““Dyroff's debut is fun to read, taking place in a world that's entertaining to ponder: what will our priorities be after the full AI renaissance? Dyroff is beyond imaginative, specifically so in building a world that's just close enough to present reality. Perfect for fans of Dave Eggers' The Circle.”” —Booklist

“Charlee Dyroff's Loneliness & Company is a sharply etched and strangely propulsive story about artificial intelligence and authentic feeling: a canny, tender exploration of the stories we tell about our bonds with each other, and the realities we'd rather not face about our bonds with the technologies that shape our days.” —Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of THE EMPATHY EXAMS and MAKE IT SCREAM, MAKE IT BURN

“Naturally intelligent. An inventive, timely, and perceptive story about human connection and being alive.” —Emily Austin, author of EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM WILL SOMEDAY BE DEAD

“It's such a great premise: a future in which loneliness has allegedly been eradicated. I was hooked from the start, and marveled at the poignancy of watching Lee relearn the basics of friendship for the sake of an AI program. Honestly, it felt like where we might all end up if we continue to let social media dominate our lives. Dyroff's brilliant story will make you want to hold all your-real-friends closer.” —Jessica Francis Kane, author of RULES FOR VISITING

“Charlee Dyroff's Loneliness & Company brings us into a world in which technology has solved almost all of our problems except that most universal yet alienating emotional condition of all-loneliness. Tender and hopeful, Dyroff's story glimmers with humor, empathy, and profound insights into the inner workings of the human heart and psyche. Her vision is utterly singular, captivating, and full of heart, reminding us of the incalculable intimacies of being alive. Reading this book felt like catching up with an old friend, or meeting a new one.” —Gina Chung, author of SEA CHANGE and GREEN FROG

“This book is funny, tender, strange, and modern. Dyroff has written a bildungsroman for the robot set, a profound look at human curiosity and longing in a finely wrought near-future New York. Loneliness & Company resonates and pops; it infiltrated my dreams.” —Kate Greene, author of ONCE UPON A TIME I LIVED ON MARS

“To inflict the demand of 'utility' on a novel is to succumb to just the sort of doomed tech logic that Dyroff skewers so nimbly and with so much intelligence in her debut. Nonetheless, if one use for literature is to make us feel less alone, then the author has succeeded brilliantly with Loneliness & Company. This is a tender, visionary, wide-hearted book that offers itself as a course corrective to our hyper-quantified, algorithm-craven age.” —Hermione Hoby, author of VIRTUE

“Dyroff's novel brilliantly uses a futuristic, slightly off-kilter world to highlight the absurdity and pain of our current reality. However, Dyroff's sharp, electric prose and wry humor keep Loneliness & Company from ever feeling weighed down by its circumstances. With her debut, Dyroff has pulled off a truly impressive feat-writing a story about loneliness that isn't so much a cautionary tale, but a tender, heartfelt reminder to value your time on Earth and the people that make your days more than just a sunrise and a sunset. A new and talented writer to watch.” —Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of PIZZA GIRL

Loneliness & Company is a stunning novel, full of lyricism, brilliance and quiet integrity, boldly tackling the most complex philosophical ideas. How do you define loneliness that plagues all of us, increasingly so? Is it a personal affliction or an existential condition? I'll be thinking about this novel for a long time.” —Lara Vapnyar, author of DIVIDE ME BY ZERO

“In Dyroff's deeply original novel, it is possible to see the future. Loneliness & Company invites us into a techno laden world that is not so far from our own. A riveting and unforgettable story of ambition that also reminds us how essential friendship is.” —Wendy S. Walters, author of MULTIPLY/DIVIDE

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639732081
ISBN-10: 163973208X
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English