Love and Other Thought Experiments: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

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Love and Other Thought Experiments: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

Love and Other Thought Experiments: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

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Knowing where it is heading would probably reveal some earlier connections that you miss on first reading. My favorite character in this entire novel was by far the ant that crawled into Rachel’s eye that night.

The ant’s narrative describes how its reality intertwined with the host it has infiltrated, about how it begins to feel human emotion as its consciousness begins to meld with Rachel’s.

Rachel dies of a brain tumor when Arthur is just a toddler (not really a spoiler, this comes very early in the novel). The experiments are renowned studies of the imagination; the stuff of philosophers and psychologists.

Weaving in a series of philosophical thought experiments (many of which concentrate on the nature of consciousness), Love and Other Thought Experiments tackles with empathy and feeling themes of consciousness, identity, love and loss. With its no-nonsense design and quiet release, Love and Other Thought Experiments is the fascinating, magnetic party guest you can't stop thinking about and hope to see again soon. Eliza wants to believe her partner but, as a scientist, can’t affirm something that doesn’t make sense (“We don’t need to resort to the mystical to describe physical processes,” she says). Picture “Sophie’s World,” “Cloud Atlas” and some arbitrary science fiction novel about artificial intelligence put into a blender, except there are still huge chunks that weren’t blended properly and give you an unpleasant jolt when you accidentally bite into one.At the same time, it is very different from the kind of book I have come to expect from the Booker (I realised very recently that this is my eighth year of reading the Booker long list, although this year it seems likely I will not read the whole list for the first time in those eight years). So it’s enlivening to read Sophie Ward’s conceptual novel which is a series of interlinked stories each exploring a different thought experiment.

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