Elena Rubik can’t seem to stay dead. She persists: as a set of corneas, as a newsletter subscriber, as a member of fanfiction forums.
Her best friend Jules Valentine meanwhile is unwittingly inveigled into an indie-film turned corporate branding stunt. When Jules leaks information about the true story behind the video – by then an overworked viral meme – wannabe investigative reporter April Kuan is assigned the case. But as April trails Jules all over Perth she too becomes ensnared in the machinations of shady corporate interests as the very laws of physics and time begin to bend.
Rubik is a wide-ranging, brilliantly intertwined novel-in-stories that slips outside the borders of realism. Spotted with disappearances, mysteries and told with a sharp-edged wit and cutting social commentary, it is an original and ingenious reflection of technological anxiety, loneliness and connectivity in the internet age.
Praise for Rubik by Elizabeth Tan
‘Rubik is an absolute delight in its wit, kindness, and playful profundity; in its feeling that the human experience is prismatic, filled with hope and despair, darkness and joy; in its universes that are at once familiar and strange. A sparkling, poignant debut.’ Brooke Davis
‘Bold, brilliant, hilarious, and beautifully strange. Make time to read Rubik, for it will challenge all your received ideas about what fiction can or should do: here is the future of Australian writing.’ Ceridwen Dovey
‘Rubik is not a novel of bush and beach, but bits and bytes; Elizabeth Tan explores with great invention and intelligence how technology transforms life, love and death in Australia.’ Ryan O’Neill
‘Elizabeth Tan’s imaginative leaps are mesmerising, her lyrical command masterful, and her narrative turns will keep you guessing. Rubik is an irresistible game that bends and shimmers between the known and the strange. Dare to play it.’ Jennifer Mills
‘Inventive ... delicious. Tan’s careful layering and nuanced craft will gain a strong following among fans of experimental narratives.’ Publishers Weekly, US
‘The term “experimental fiction” can be used to cover a multitude of sins: an almost petulant obsession with abstraction and a disdainful disregard for the experience of the reader, among them. When it works, though, we have novels in the tradition of Kafka, Woolf and Foster Wallace. The very best experimental writers have an inspired and weird way of seeing the world that makes much realist fiction seem moribund. Elizabeth Tan’s debut novel-in-stories, Rubik, is in the latter category: it’s wonderful, brilliant and mind-bending, and a worthy heir to the experimental tradition. Rubik is the kind of book that demands a second read, or a third. And maybe paper and a pen for notes. Or several pens, of different colours. Regardless, it’s worth the effort.’ The Saturday Paper
‘Recalling the wit and social commentary of Julie Koh’s Portable Curiosities alongside the surreal connected-universe storytelling of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Rubik is a shot in the arm of Australian fiction, one that will undoubtedly reveal more secrets on successive rereads.’ Books + Publishing