Author: Luke Tredget
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 17th May 2018
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
Anna is in love.
Or maybe not.
She’s a free spirit: definitely happy.
Or is it more panicked?
In any case, she is living life to the full. Or maybe to the edge.
And having a glass of wine.
With a big birthday just around the corner, an important new project at work, and a boyfriend she suspects might be about to ask her a significant question, Anna should feel like she has it all together. But somehow, she just doesn’t seem to be sure about, well, anything. So she gets out her phone and decides to download Kismet.
Will she embrace the life she has, or risk everything for the life she imagines?
With the warmth of David Nicholls and the off-kilter charisma of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Kismet is a love story about imperfect people in a world obsessed with perfect matches.
What I Thought:
Anna seems to be in a pretty good place in life, she’s just about to turn 30, she’s handed an exciting opportunity at work, and she knows her boyfriend is about to ask THE question but Anna’s got some doubts, why? Her and Pete’s Kismet score is only a 70, below the national average, is that enough to settle down or is there someone else out there who is a better match?
Kismet came into my life at pretty much the perfect time, I turned 30 back in October, and while I’m currently very happily single that little voice is starting to whisper at the back of my mind, telling me I should start thinking about what I want from the future, do I want to settle down, and do I really want to delve into the world of internet dating and Tinder…
On the face of it Kismet sounds like a fantastic idea, it’s an app that compiles information about you based on the websites you visit, what you buy, the films you watch and then shows you your compatibility with other users you happen to be near, wouldn’t it be great to not have to sit through a dodgy date with someone you have nothing in common with! But then I starting thinking about it a little bit more as I followed Anna’s story through the book, if you’re looking at a number for validation and confirmation of your relationship where do you draw the line? Are you happy with a 70? a 75? Do you keep looking for an 80 or do you hold out for that illusive 90 or higher that might not, and probably doesn’t even exist, do you spend so long putting off life and settling down waiting for someone with that ideal number for you that by the time you realise you’re not going to find an 84 or whatever your chosen number happens to be it’s too late? Or if you’re already in a relationship would you take the retrospective test to see how compatible you are? If you don’t do you spend the rest of your days wondering if you’ve settled when there was someone better for you out there? And if you do what happens if you get a lower number than you expected? At what point do the happy times you’ve already spent together outweigh a low number? Do you throw away a year long relationship because you only score a 70? What if you’ve been happily with someone for five years and only score a 61? What carries more weight, experiences that you’ve had, or the potential (but no certainty) for more with someone else?
As you may be able to tell from all the above Kismet is a novel that really got me thinking about the world we live in, where more and more it feels like we’re experiencing life almost second hand, we sit and watch things through a screen as we film them on our phones, we go to lunch with friends and can’t help but pick up our phone every time it lights up to check what’s happening in the world rather than fully engaging with the person sitting opposite us, and I say this as someone completely obsessed with technology, I love my phone, and my tablet and my laptop and I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging and the internet, but is an app that monitors you and then generates a score with a complete stranger a step too far, do we start relying on technology too much and do you miss out on THE ONE because an algorithm says you’re only 60% compatible and so you never bother to go over and start a conversation with them?
I’m not going to say too much about Anna’s journey through the story, I’ll leave you to discover it for yourself but I found it fascinating as she tried to balance where she was in life with where she thought she’d be, the things that she thought she would have achieved, and the life she thought she’d be living by the time she turned 30 compared to where she is. It’s probably fair to say that I had a wide variety of feelings when it came to Anna, at times I completely identified with her, at points I felt quite sorry for her and at others I just wanted to give her a shake and ask her what on earth she thought she was doing!
At just under 400 pages Kismet isn’t a short book but at no point did it feel as though the plot was dragging on, the plot was so well paced and the structure was fantastic, split into three parts each chapter focused on a particular day in Anna’s life as she counts down to her 30th birthday and then follows her in as she moves into her 31st year on the planet, I kept just wanting to read a day more, to see what she did next, and for me it reached a pretty satisfactory hopeful conclusion which shows there’s more to life than a number, especially a number generated by an arbitrary algorithm!
Would I Recommend?
Absolutely! Kismet is a fantastic debut with a really interesting and I think timely and thought provoking topic! Well worth picking up, I’m certainly intrigued as to what comes next for Anna, I shall be imagining it in my head and looking forward to whatever the next tale Luke has to tell may be.
About The Author
Luke Tredget works in international development for the Red Cross.
His journalism has been published in the Guardian and he completed the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA in 2015.
He lives in London.
Connect With Luke
Want to buy it?
As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?