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Set My Heart to Five Reviews

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson

Set My Heart to Five

Simon Stephenson

3.50 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 28 May 2020
ISBN: 9780008354206

'A beautiful, funny, heartfelt analysis of what it means to be human' Simon Pegg A story of loneliness, love and loose connections, Set My Heart to Five is a hilarious, touching, dazzlingly perceptive debut novel, and a profound exploration of what it truly means to be human.

4 stars out of 5
Hephzibah Anderson
14 Feb 2021

" It all makes for a funny, whimsical caper, laced with lightly philosophical insights into storytelling and human frailty"

If you’re over 2021 already, how about jet-packing into 2054? Or perhaps not, because as this delightfully absurd novel reveals, we humans will have locked ourselves out of the internet by then, and if you’re wondering where the moon is, Elon Musk incinerated it. Meanwhile, it’s androids like our affable narrator, Jared, that are trapped in the role of second-class citizens. But Jared has developed feelings, and with them a plan to end the oppression of his fellow bots. His weapon? The movies, of course.


4 stars out of 5
Stuart Kelly
12 Jun 2020

"it is structurally elegant, with entire sections made up of whole sentences, then a break"

Pathos, comedy, satire (there is no moon in Jared’s time since Elon Musk blew it up), a car-chase, The Great American Zero Sum game, daftness, a nefarious nemesis, what it means to be human (memory? emotion? reason? always making the wrong decisions?), a ghost section, parodies, anger, and a shining sense of the novel being ultimately a machine that makes humans a little more human if possible. It is probably too ebullient to be taken seriously for prizes.

3 stars out of 5
Lucy Knight
24 May 2020

"I wouldn’t be surprised if this pacy and emotive story finds itself better suited to the screen"

One particular bot, our narrator Jared, embarks on a mission to change humans’ negative view of bots, after he breaks the rules of science and develops feelings. It’s a bizarre premise told yet more bizarrely — Jared has a distinctive yet often grating narrative voice. Luckily the plot is gripping and, if you can wade through the terrible bot jokes, there are some genuinely funny lines, such as when Jared makes fun of the human love of “diverting spectacles with an obviously phallic component” (aka skyscrapers and hot-dog-eating contests).