The Dimensions of a Cave: A Novel (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
The Dimensions of a Cave: A Novel By Greg Jackson Cover Image
Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
5 on hand, as of Apr 16 9:28am

Staff Reviews

People don't really talk about "systems novels" anymore, let alone write one, but this postmodern riff on Heart of Darkness is a great systems novel. Greg Jackson's short story collection Prodigals was a feast for fans who delight in language and virtuoso prose, and Dimensions of a Cave achieves the same consistency for its 464 pages. It's a novel that is both densely philosophical and full of snappy, clever dialogue and a propulsive central plot. Perfect for fans of Don DeLillo and Joshua Cohen.

— Matt


Named a Best Book of 2023 by The New Yorker

A virtuoso journey into networks of power, our embroilment with new technologies, and the dangers of corruption, by an electrifying debut novelist.

When the investigative reporter Quentin Jones’s story about covert military interrogation practices is buried, he is spurred to dig deeper and unravels a trail that leads to VIRTUE: cutting-edge technology that simulates reality during interrogation.

As the shadowy labyrinths of governmental corruption unfurl and tighten around him, unnerving links to his protégé Bruce—who, like Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz, disappeared into the war several years earlier—keep emerging.

Greg Jackson’s The Dimensions of a Cave explores our drive toward war, violence, and venality, placing humanity and idealism under the spotlight.

About the Author

Greg Jackson is author of Prodigals: Stories, for which he received the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 award and the Bard Fiction Prize. In 2017, he was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, Tin House, Vice, Conjunctions, Virginia Quarterly Review, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Guardian, among other places.

Praise For…

"[A] cerebral thriller . . . Jackson depicts the world as 'stranger, wilder, deeper, more open than you’ve been made to know.'" —The New Yorker (Best Books of 2023)

"The Dimensions of a Cave is intensely mesmerizing, thanks to the rich prose and deft use of transitions to seamlessly jump between settings, reflection, dialogue, and back again . . . Taking on complex themes and whittling them down to the core message is not an easy feat, nor is the amount of research that went into building the foundation that this book rests upon. Jackson emerges as a fascinating writer willing to engage with the zeitgeist of the day, without falling for the fickle trends. Centering his debut firmly on resonant values and themes will ensure The Dimensions of a Cave carves a new spot in contemporary canon." —Alexander Pyles, Chicago Review of Books

"The Dimensions of a Cave could hardly be better timed . . . part quest, part metaphysical mystery, but in this deeply scary dystopian world, love still plays a part, as does loyalty. The best news is that Jackson is a terrific storyteller, and you need to keep reading to find out what he has in store for us—horror or hope." —Lee Langley, The Spectator

One of the more accomplished American novels of the twenty-first century . . . Unfalteringly lyrical, philosophically attentive . . . Besides his acuity, erudition and humor, Jackson’s most impressive capability is for description . . . The Dimensions of a Cave offers an unimpeachable defense of language’s capacity to freight an environment with feeling, mentality, and the grammar of theme. In a novel fundamentally concerned with the world beyond the self, this aesthetic commitment redounds to a moral sensibility." —Trevor Quirk, The Baffler

"Interrogations of what selfhood, consciousness, and reality are, especially in a world infested by relentless images and fake news . . . [Jackson] nails the moral question about simulations and the actuality or not of other minds . . . A fascinating set of speculations." —Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

"Jackson’s inspired debut novel recasts Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Plato’s allegory of the cave for the information age . . . The book’s characters, including government bureaucrats, warlords, and bohemian artists, tend to expound at length, their voices nearly indistinguishable but their tales florid and spellbinding . . . [The Dimensions of a Cave is] a timely and clear-eyed interrogation of the fictions that shield people from society’s blinding truths.Publishers Weekly

“Greg Jackson’s The Dimensions of a Cave is, sentence to sentence, a linguistic marvel, a genre-bending tale with moral and philosophical stakes as profound as they come.” —Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names

“Greg Jackson is an athletically talented writer who packs so much into every single sentence and scene it almost scares me. His debut novel is somehow both a hardboiled thriller and a philosophical treatise with dialogues that would make Sorkin blush.” —Catherine Lacey, author of Biography of X

“Greg Jackson’s prose is sly, wise, and almost self-consciously heroic, undaunted by the present moment, though it threatens to be our last.” —Joshua Cohen, author of The Netanyahus

The Dimensions of a Cave tells a very contemporary story about surveillance capitalism, virtual reality, and twenty-first-century forever war, but it will still be read a century from now for the news it brings about the timeless riddle of the human self. That sounds like dust-jacket hyperbole, I know, but this book seems as likely to last as anything I’ve read in years. It’s increasingly rare these days to find a novelist with Greg Jackson’s world-swallowing ambition, and rarer still for one to make good on that ambition as gloriously as Jackson does here.” —Christopher Beha, author of The Index of Self-Destructive Acts

“Greg Jackson’s first novel, after his terrific story collection, Prodigals, is an ambitious and challenging work about the lies that men and journalism and government tell about each other and themselves. If Bob Woodward were to find himself in a twenty-first-century Pynchon novel, this might well be the result.” —Keith Gessen, author of A Terrible Country

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374298494
ISBN-10: 0374298491
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 480
Language: English