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Cover for The Bug

The Bug

A Novel

Ellen Ullman


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With a New Introduction by Mary Gaitskill

A PEN/Hemingway Award Finalist

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Ellen Ullman is a "rarity, a computer programmer with a poet's feeling for language" (Laura Miller, Salon). The Bug breaks new ground in literary fiction, offering us a deep look into the internal lives of people in the technical world. Set in a start-up company in 1984, this highly acclaimed first novel explores what happens when a baffling software flaw—a bug so teasing it is named "the Jester"—threatens the survival of the humans beings who created it.

Praise For The Bug: A Novel

“Brilliant…Perfect for our time.” —USA Today

“Thrilling and intellectually fearless…If more contemporary novels delivered news this relevant and wise they'd have to stop declaring the death of the novel.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Takes the techno-novel to a new level of literary excellence…This is magnetic fiction.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A thrillerlike tale…No one writes more eloquently than Ullman about the peculiar mindset of the people who create the digital tools we use every day.” —Salon

“Ellen Ullman writes unsparingly of the vivid, compelling, emotionally driven souls who gave us our new machines. By turns love story, tense psychological drama, and comedy of (very bad) manners, The Bug is an edgy and irresistible journey into lives all too rarely visited by literary types.” —Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize--winning author of March

Picador, 9781250002495, 384pp.

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

About the Author

Ellen Ullman is the author of The Bug, a New York Times Notable Book and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the cult classic memoir Close to the Machine, based on her years as a rare female computer programmer in the early years of the personal computer era. She lives in San Francisco.