At twenty-three, Alice Hare arrives in New York looking for a place to call home. Instead she finds a Japanese writer called Mizuko Himura. Alice becomes one of Mizuko's many online followers, fixated from afar and increasingly convinced this stranger's life holds a mirror to her own. But as Alice closes in on her "internet twin", fictional and real lives begin to blur, leaving a tangle of lies, blood ties and sexual encounters that cannot be erased.


"Excavate[s] the odd, punishing, and occasionally thrilling depths of mental illness... an emotionally bleached and disorienting story of contemporary obsession." - THE NEW YORKER

"Sympathy will double-click your heart." - VANITY FAIR

"Sympathy is a sneaky, subtle debut novel about intimacy, aspiration and the Internet. As the protagonist, Alice, stalks and befriends her Instagram hero in a worsening spiral of obsession, the reader falls into something like the glassy-eyed fugue state you reach after too much online scrolling: mesmerized, inert, unable to stop." - NPR, 'Stand Out Books of 2017'

"Exceptional." - LITERARY REVIEW

"Olivia Sudjic's smart debut novel is an uncomfortably contemporary tale of unrequited love in the digital age." - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"Exquisite... an astute, quirky, slow-burning satire on emerging codes of behaviour, intergenerational differences, globalisation, the tech industry and the vortex of the dark web." - THE GUARDIAN

"In the digital age, the lives of glamorous others have never felt so tantalizingly near."- VOGUE (US)

"A standout in its approach to social media... a smart and lyrical evocation of that murky emotional terrain between our online and offline selves... proof of Sudjic's electric talent." - VICE

"This impressive novel is alive with clever ideas of how the internet has shaped a generation of people who haven't known adolescence or adulthood without it." - THE TIMES

"A thrilling debut that skewers our digital culture." - FINANCIAL TIMES

"Inventive and highly charged... compelling." - THE TELEGRAPH

"If last summer's must-read debut was Emma Cline's The Girls, this year it's undoubtedly Olivia Sudjic's remarkable Sympathy." - VOGUE (UK)

"Shot through with dark humour and prose that burns like a laptop overheating on your thighs, Sympathy captures the exquisite agony of life online." - AnOther

"Filled with explosive intelligence and dark humour... both beautiful and raw... captures the essence of personal responsibility in the digital age."—ELLE (UK) 

“The best fictional account I’ve read of the way the internet has shaped our inner lives. A literary thriller that confirms the arrival of a major new talent.”THE OBSERVER 

"A darkly beautiful debut novel."- i-D

"A remarkable debut, with the arrival of such a novelist we can finally welcome our techno-dystopian future with open arms." - THE NEW REPUBLIC

"A gripping odyssey into one woman’s online-addled inner life." - THE INDEPENDENT

"[An] absolute fizz of a novel... dizzying ambition... an extraordinary coming together of stories and ideas." - THE SPECTATOR

"Exciting... an ominous love song... Sudjic arrives at a gently disturbing, Cronenberg-y conflation of mind and device... Sympathy speaks to themes of self-containment and psychic purity similar to those in Catherine Lacey’s “big data dating” parable The Answers, or Alexandra Kleeman’s comparably creepy, gently dystopian You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine." - THE STINGING FLY

"Packed with tension, pathos and vitality... A potent first novel from a formidable talent." - STAR TRIBUNE

"Smart, funny and provoking, every bit as addictive as your ex’s Instagram account." - REFINERY29

"Shrewd... super-smart... intriguing." - DAILY MAIL

"Seductive, deeply compelling... poetic and unsettling." - EMERALD STREET

"Cleverly explores what our smartphones are doing to our souls." - STYLIST

"A powerful and original novel." - Diana Athill

"Brilliant, compelling, beautifully written and deeply disturbing." Martha Lane-Fox

"In this unbelievably accomplished first novel, Olivia Sudjic creates a narrator whose compelling voice is timeless, even as her obsessions and the tools she uses to satisfy them are up-to-the-minute modern. At once a riveting mystery and a literary tour de force, Sympathy had me spellbound from the first page to the last." Emily Gould  

"Sympathy is a mind-bending novel that skillfully depicts the bizarre interplay of technology and intimacy with a story that is compassionate, funny, and incredibly alarming." Claire-Louise Bennett

"A masterful, mysterious mindfuck. A dark, nuanced, fantastical and thrilling debut novel, posing questions of reality vs. fiction and exploring the ways that infatuation causes us to lose ourselves." Chloe Caldwell

"A memorable debut. Sudjic’s acute observation and sharp wit engage readers from the off, but the real revelation here is how Sympathy deepens and darkens as it goes into something altogether rawer, wiser and more challenging." Peter Ho Davies

Sympathy3-2 copy.jpg