“Reward System is an exhilarating and beautiful book by an extraordinarily gifted writer. Reading these stories, I found myself thinking newly and differently about contemporary life.” —Sally Rooney, author of Beautiful World, Where Are You Julia has landed a fresh start—at a “pan-European” restaurant. “Imagine that,” says her mother. “I’m imagining.” Nick is flirting with sobriety and nobody else. Did you know adults his age are now more likely to live with their parents than with a romantic partner? Life should have started to take shape by now—but instead we’re trying on new versions of ourselves, swiping left and right, searching for a convincing answer to that question: “What do you do?” Jem Calder’s Reward System is a set of ultra-contemporary and electrifyingly fresh fictions about work, relationships, and the strange loop of technology and the self. They are about a generation on the cusp: the story of two people enmeshed in Zooms and lockdowns, loneliness and love, devices and desires. Hyperaware but also deeply confused about who they are, Julia and Nick reveal the way we live now in a startling new light.