I was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in Lexington, MA, a suburb of Boston where the first battle of the American Revolution was fought and absolutely nothing has happened since. I graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in literature and spent several aimless years wandering around reading and temping and trying and failing to learn various foreign languages while my cleverer classmates accumulated money and houses and such. Then I spent three years in the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale before I realized that a career in comparing literatures was not for me.
So instead I set about turning myself into a journalist. I moved to New York City and worked for a string of dot-coms while writing magazine articles about books, technology and culture on the side, for places like Lingua Franca, the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, Salon and the New York Times. In 2002 I was hired by Time magazine and became its book reviewer as well as one of its lead technology writers. The New York Times says I'm “among this country's smartest and most reliable critics.”
I published my first novel, Warp, in 1997; it vanished immediately, leaving behind only a handful of lousy Amazon reviews to mark its passing. My second novel, Codex, came out in 2004 and became an international bestseller. My third novel, The Magicians, was published in 2009 and became a New York Times bestseller. The New Yorker named it one of the best books of 2009.
I live in Brooklyn, where I'm working on a sequel to The Magicians that will come out in 2011. With any luck.