In the shifting sands of the desert, near an unnamed metropolis, there is an institute where various fellows come to undertake projects of great significance. But when our sort-of hero, Percy Frobisher, arrives, surrounded by the simulated environment of the glass-enclosed dome of the Institute, his mind goes completely blank. When he spills something on his uniform--a major faux pas--he learns about a mysterious shop where you can take something, utter the command "same same," and receive a replica even better than the original. Imagining a world in which simulacra have as much value as the real--so much so that any distinction between the two vanishes, and even language seeks to reproduce meaning through ever more degraded copies of itself--Peter Mendelsund has crafted a deeply unsettling novel about what it means to exist and to create . . . and a future that may not be far off.