“Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”
by Jamil Jan Kochai
from the January 6, 2020 issue of The New Yorker

Jamil Jan Kochai published his debut novel, 99 Nights in Logar, in early 2019, and I don’t think I heard anything about it. Has anyone read it? If so, how is it?

Here we get to know his work as he writes about playing a real video game that came out in 2015. And apparently, I see in his interview here, there are some characters from his novel that appear here.

I’m still working on last week’s novella from John Jeremiah Sullivan (along with all of the usual holiday stuff), so I haven’t even read a snippet of this one. I’ll do that now, as I copy the first paragraph to entice you:

First, you have to gather the cash to preorder the game at the local GameStop, where your cousin works, and, even though he hooks it up with the employee discount, the game is still a bit out of your price range because you’ve been using your Taco Bell paychecks to help your pops, who’s been out of work since you were ten, and who makes you feel unbearably guilty about spending money on useless hobbies while kids in Kabul are destroying their bodies to build compounds for white businessmen and warlords—but, shit, it’s Kojima, it’s Metal Gear, so, after scrimping and saving (like literal dimes you’re picking up off the street), you’ve got the cash, which you give to your cousin, who purchases the game on your behalf, and then, on the day it’s released, you just have to find a way to get to the store.

Okay, so I also learned in the interview that this piece is written in the second person. I wonder if it works!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below! And here’s to a beautiful new year of reading!

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