My debut novel, THE ZERO AND THE ONE is now available from Twelve Books in the US, Affirm Press in Australia, Legend Books in the UK, and Presses de la Cité in France.
You can order it here...
A gothic twist on the classic tale of innocents abroad, THE ZERO AND THE ONE is a meditation on the seductions of friendship and the power of dangerous ideas that registers the dark, psychological suspense of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and the intellectual and philosophical intrigue of John Banville's The Book of Evidence.
A shy, bookish scholarship student from a working-class family, Owen Whiting has high hopes of what awaits him at Oxford, only to find himself adrift and out of place among the university's dim aristocrats and posh radicals. But his life takes a dramatic turn when he is assigned to the same philosophy tutorial as Zachary Foedern, a visiting student from New York City. Rich, brilliant, and charismatic, Zach takes Owen under his wing, introducing him to a world of experiences Owen has only ever read about. From the quadrangles of Oxford to the seedy underbelly of Berlin, they practice what Zach preaches, daring each other to transgress the boundaries of convention and morality, until Zach proposes the greatest transgression of all: a suicide pact. But when Zach's plans go horribly awry, Owen is left to pick up the pieces in the sleek lofts and dingy dives of lower Manhattan. Now he must navigate the treacherous boundary between illusion and reality if he wants to understand his friend and preserve a hold on his once bright future.
Reviews of THE ZERO AND THE ONE
"Ruby, an American critic and translator in his thirties, has written a high-stakes novel. It invites comparisons with Dostoevsky, Sartre and Camus, and also Tom McCarthy, Teju Cole, Ben Lerner and Laurent Binet." ―THE NEW STATESMAN
“A baroque and ambitious thriller…A glittering first novel.”—PARIS MATCH
"Ruby's novel is, for the moment, only available in English and is in urgent need or translation, for this debut from the California-born, Berlin-based author has all the makings of a belle-lettristic classic." ―Marcus Weingärtner, BERLINER ZEITUNG
"This book is a winner, offering astute psychological insight and a suspenseful unfolding to a shocking end." ―LIBRARY JOURNAL (Starred Review)
"The over-the-top intensity and sheer depravity of this deliciously gothic debut register quite an impact. An undeniably propulsive read." ―PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A rare book — a compulsively readable page-turner that is actually, unapologetically, smart." ―Austin Adams, LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
"The writing, like the characters, is smart and engrossing. Even knowing what’s to come makes the shock no less breathtaking. A potent tale of the pull people have upon one another." ―KIRKUS REVIEWS
"A fast-paced philosophical meditation on what qualifies as the worst crime one can commit." ―BOOKLIST
"A real work of art. A masterclass in tension, suspense, and deception." ―THE BOOKBAG
"Ruby is a writer of some considerable talent...Without a doubt someone to watch out for." ―Gill Chedgey, NUDGE
"A highly original debut." ―Anne Goodwin, ANNECDOTAL
"For the revolutionary in all of us." ―Aidan Whitehurst, PLANET BOOKS
"The Zero and The One is a rare oddity within mainstream publishing: a small, complex novel that equally entertains and challenges the reader. It’s by no means commercial fiction, but it is the type of fiction that has real psychological depth and demands to be read long into the night after all of the lights are out." ―Keith Rawson, LITREACTOR
"It will surprise, haunt, and excite you all at once...[Ruby] knows exactly what he's doing." ―Jack Cameron Stanton, BETTER READING
"Ryan Ruby has written a novel whose theme as well as the questions it poses will remain long after the last word is read. Its haunting elegaic passages leave only one question unanswered: Who was the Zero and who the One?" ―Toni V. Sweeney, NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
"Intriguing, with a sense of tragic mystery" ―COPY AND TEA
"A carefully constructed work of literature, with a slow, but steady and utterly mind blowing escalation." ―BIBLIOPHILE
Additional Praise for THE ZERO AND THE ONE
"A gripping, intellectually agile book that dresses like a coming of age narrative, but soon reveals itself to be something new, wholly original and philosophically rich. If you've ever read a crime novel and wished for a deeper answer to the mystery-an existential Whydunnit rather than a Whodunnit-then this masterful work by Ryan Ruby will thrill you, and give you much ominous food for thought." ―Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine
"If the talented Mr. Ripley had studied continental philosophy at Oxford, he might have told a story as dark as Ruby's thriller, which is as slippery as the poststructuralist idea of selfhood." ―Caleb Crain, author of Necessary Errors
"A ferocious hybrid of a book: part novel of philosophy, part thriller, completely absorbing. It's the sort of book you read in a day - reminded, between gulps, of The Secret History and The Talented Mr. Ripley - and then spend months thinking about." ―Ben Dolnick, author of Zoology and At the Bottom of Everything
"Ryan Ruby has written a brilliant and captivating novel. The Zero and the One is a platypus of a book, an odd animal: a novel of ideas, a murder mystery, and a novel of manners concerned with nationality and class. On one level it's as dark as Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels, but with a lot of philosophy and math in the mix, a setting that reminds one of Evelyn Waugh, and a slightly loony-goony texture that even sometimes evokes P.G. Wodehouse. It's as sharp as a tack, and the pages turn themselves." ―Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
“THE ZERO AND THE ONE is brilliantly erudite, deeply engaging, and full of heart. Ryan Ruby has captured something surprising--the ineluctable sadness of youth.” —Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London
“Beautifully written and minutely observed, THE ZERO AND THE ONE brilliantly encapsulates the agony and the ecstasy of the search for meaning in late adolescence.” —Jenny Davidson, author of The Magic Circle and Reading Style: A Life in Sentences“
"The Zero and the One [has been] widely (and positively) reviewed, but one of the unexpected consequences is that Ruby has singlehandedly rescued Hans Abendroth from obscurity." ―Cynthia Haven, author of Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard, THE BOOK HAVEN