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

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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). I think the main reason I enjoyed reading this book is the way it keeps you on your toes all the way through. However, it is not until the final chapter of the book that the significance of those alternatives will start to fall into place.

Rachel dies of a brain tumor when Arthur is just a toddler (not really a spoiler, this comes very early in the novel). I've only just finished reading this and don't feel I can adequately explain my feelings about this book. I also didn't realize it was going to be short stories (I realize they all are interconnected and follow the same group of characters but they were short stories nonetheless and y'all know I don't vibe with short stories. If you are like me and enjoy subtle, sensitive literary fiction AND philosophical thought experiments as entertainment (along the lines of say, Ted Chiang's short stories) AND these two things combined in one novel sounds appealing, this book is for you.Unusually for a novel, each chapter has a bibliography - in addition to the philosophical and scientific underpinnings, these include novels, children's books and other literary works all of which are mentioned in or influence the stories. She was fading like a once vivid stain on a sheet that with every wash grows paler until you forget it had ever existed. The first arises from Pascal’s wager, although not with an explicit reference to religion, but more to ask the question of when it may be rational to believe in the irrational, here whether Eliza should believe her wife, Rachel, that an ant has crawled into her eye and stayed there (wonderfully based on an incident where the author herself had ants living in her computer, to the disbelief of her son).

And in contrast many sources are, I think, simply listed for completeness, for example a (I think) straightforward remark in all the stories he was told, the fairy tales and Roald Dahls, the Lemony Snickets and J.The book is throughly infused with empathy, especially for its characters that eventually extend to an unusual and somwhat mysterious, unsettling, future AI consciousness. I understand and respect the academia of the experiments, but in a number of cases I struggled to get the essence (after looking on line, as I imagine most people who are not philosophers, will need to do). Her book, A Marriage Proposal; The importance of equal marriage and what it means for us all , was published by Guardian short books in 2014. Set in the future and firmly in the genre of Sci-fi, this is where all the previous chapters connect. In the book, two women are knocked off balance when their plans to have a baby together become entangled with an ant incident; the same day they decide to go ahead with the pregnancy, Rachel wakes in the night in a panic, convinced an ant has crawled into her eye.

We have multiple times, but also multiple timelines, multiple realities, even multiple versions of the “same” person.Like you I do usually prefer deeper commentary with these characters; it seems like there’s still plenty to be said about those experiences in fiction and beyond. 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). There is only one story in the whole bunch that incited any emotional impact for me at all, and it’s the second piece: a child swims out to sea to retrieve a drifting toy for a friend, and worries he won’t make it back to shore; in three mutually exclusive endings, we see him fight for survival. We begin the book with Eliza and Rachel, a gay couple who decide to start a family with the help of a friend. In some cases these are also spelled out, dare one say Sophie’s World style, in the narrative itself, whereas in others the association is rather looser.

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