Search History

Amy Taylor

Search History
Allen & Unwin
2 May 2023

Search History

Amy Taylor

Shortlisted for The Readings New Australian Fiction Prize 2023

After fleeing to Melbourne in the wake of a breakup, all Ana has to show for herself is an unfulfilling job at an overly enthusiastic tech start-up and one particularly questionable dating app experience. Then she meets Evan. Charming, kind and financially responsible, Evan is a complete aberration from her usual type, and Ana feels like she has finally awoken from a long dating nightmare.

As much as she tries to let their burgeoning relationship unfold IRL, Ana can't resist the urge to find Evan online. When she discovers that his previous girlfriend, Emily, died unexpectedly in a hit-and-run less than a year ago, Ana begins to worry she's living in the shadow of his lost love. Soon she's obsessively comparing herself to Emily, trawling through her dormant social media accounts in the hope of understanding her better. Online, Evan and Emily's life together looked perfect, but just how perfect was it? And why won't he talk about it?

Search History is a sharply funny debut novel about identity, obsession and desire in the internet age from one of the most perceptive and original new voices in Australian fiction.

'Perfectly captures the tragedy and comedy that is living and loving online ... with wit, humour and insight.' Diana Reid


Search History is a dark, comedic retelling of Rebecca for the modern age, exploring the influence of social media in our relationships, our sense of identity, and our understanding of the lives of others.

Nothing seems to be going right for Ana: she’s just moved to Melbourne after a nasty breakup, her new job at a tech start-up is proving to be unfulfilling and unpromising, and a particularly questionable dating app experience has left her rattled.

Then she meets Evan, who is funny, charming and kind. He’s everything good that Ana needs in her life right now. But as much as she tries to let their relationship naturally blossom, she can’t help but look him up online. When Ana discovers that Evan’s ex-girlfriend, Emily, died unexpectedly in a hit-and-run, she becomes obsessed, and soon haunted, by the idea of Emily. She cannot go a day without going on Emily’s Instagram account, seeing Evan in her pictures, learning who her family members are, and seeing how perfect Emily’s life was before she died. Soon, Ana begins to worry that she will never compare to Emily in Evan’s eyes. Why does Evan refuse to talk about her? Was their life really as perfect as their social media made it out to be?

I cannot emphasise enough how much I adored this book. Full of wit, humour, and wisdom, Amy Taylor’s debut offers a deeply relatable exploration of the endlessly inquisitive nature of humans, and asks how far into someone else’s private world we would go to have our curiosity satiated. If you’ve ever stalked a person online, or accidentally revealed information you could only have known from searching their social media, or if you’ve ever experienced the very human emotions of love, jealousy, obsession, loss of identity, or confusion about one’s future, read this book. Basically, everyone please read this book!

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