Mercury Retrograde - A Novel By Emily Segal

Mercury Retrograde
A Novel By Emily Segal

Autofiction. Emily Segal, artist and trend forecaster in her 20s, tries to tell the future by reading the present. Literature finds commercial form in the shape of eXe, a mysterious and well-funded Internet start-up that offers her a job. A conceptual take-over is deployed; gendered power play ensues; queerness incubates; memes converge. Set in New York City, post-Occupy and pre-Trump. First person / mixed media / pulp. Not actually about astrology. Published in 2020.

*A New York Times New and Notable Book 2020*

“Emily Segal is almost mystically attuned to the cultural logic of our era. She lives its pangs and contradictions intellectually, emotionally and somatically – late capitalism’s Simone Weil.” Tom McCarthy

“I really liked reading this book. It’s the longest reply to “where have you been?” you’ll ever get from someone you first met in a skype chat which Emily Segal is to me. It’s a brilliantly written novel of a moment in search of a shimmer, half ‘here’, half digital, an everywhere post branding work place place where few have dared to live and this writer, explorer, critic, philosopher of nonbusiness has done it deep. Segal's style is widely smart, different than deep (always). I mean her Mercury Retrograde is, it truly is.” Eileen Myles

“‘Mercury Retrograde’ to me feels like fiction's next historical leap. It's smart and engaging (and bingeable) and yet it also feels necessary in a way that almost all books don't. It's a signpost that points to where the culture is headed, which is heady stuff, yet there you have it.” Douglas Coupland

“I had so much fun reading it. It’s so fucking smart. It’s like a love story between a girl and her intellect. And it’s so cool to be all up in there with her.”  Michelle Tea

“A thought-provoking and often extremely funny first novel looking back at the 2010s, which I couldn't put down. I should also say this book offered some very cathartic food-for-thought on the strange ways capital, cultural capital, and the Internet interacted in the 10s, for those of you who are still haunted by trying to make sense of it all.” Emilie Friedlander, VICE

“Segal provides a wickedly sharp and sardonic depiction of the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of a particular cross-section of...the city. ... Through autofiction, she depicts and reinforces the semantic slipperiness of art, of advertising, of technology — of meaning itself. ... What’s at stake [in Mercury Retrograde] is not what can be known, but the disorienting, all-too-human experience of not knowing.” Kate Silzer, Hyperallergic

“Part lookbook of the era’s anxieties and attitudes, part memoir, part satire, Segal’s novel navigates these scenes as one should: with humor, irony, and style.” Daniel Rathburn, Harvard Review

“Her novel [is] a tale deviating from the autofiction roman à clef trend of her peers…. It’s… a novel that brandishes and parodies self-aggrandizing behavior, one of the animating passions of literature and art in a decade haunted by the recursive nature of the internet…. Unlike the selfie-styled novels of her peers, stuffed with self- aggrandizement and drunk on idle success, Segal’s novel debases form, replacing the dead author with a living artist.” John Belknap, Flash Art


Emily Segal (b. 1988, New York, NY) is an artist, writer, and trend forecaster based in Los Angeles. Mercury Retrograde is her first novel. emilysegal.net