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

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These pieces all fit into a single over-arcing narrative, but they’re varied enough that one never knows what to expect next. The story is untraditional because it is structured, as the book’s title suggests, around a number of famous thought experiments. This short novel sounded very much like something I'd enjoy a great deal, unfortunately, it didn't quite meet my expectations.

We have multiple times, but also multiple timelines, multiple realities, even multiple versions of the “same” person.

Sadness, joy, the scent of lemon rind, the pleasure-glide of skin on skin, a taste of hops, of salt, a scattering of dust in sunlight, a sliver of hope. What follows is a uniquely imaginitive sequence of interlinked stories ranging across time, place and perspective to form a sparkling philosophical tale of love, lost and found across the universe. I’ve been saving Sophie Ward’s Love and Other Thought Experimentsfor close to last because it was one of the longlist titles that most intrigued me this year. Each story begins with a description of a philosophical thought experiment, which guides the chapter that follows. this novel was key to Ward's PhD thesis at Goldsmiths, a thesis provisionally titled 'Imagine I Am, The Use of Narrative in Philosophical Thought Experiments' ( https://www.

If you can enjoy the ride for what it is, you may come out of it with new experiences that inform and transform what comes next.I’ve read too many books recently where I really admired the craft and the writing, but didn’t emotionally connect, so I’ll be avoiding this one. I wish I could provide a more helpful review, but a description could never do the book justice, and I honestly believe it’s the sort of book where the less you know going in, the better. One night Rachel wakes up screaming and tells Eliza that an ant has crawled into her eye and is stuck there. Thus, when I read this review, I kept thinking, “This sounds like something someone wrote in an MFA program to stand out. One night she wakes up with an ant in her eye and suddenly the universe as she/we know it unravels before our (ahem) ant riddled eyes.

Rachel, Eliza, Arthur, Greg, Hal, Ali and Zeus are all weaving their ways through a web constructed from repetitions and impossibilities, and it is only through understanding this web that do we, as readers, recognize the new and visionary in the timeline of the story. 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). This is very cleverly done, and at the individual level, a story at bedtime, some of these could be read and enjoyed by pretty well everybody, independently of the overall book.Ward has achieved something quite extraordinary: a super-smart metaphysical romp that's also warm, wistful and heartfelt. The characters journey across the different chapters to tell us their stories, both the possible ones and the fantasies that unexpectedly merge with reality. Moving onwards in Love and Other Thought Experiments the cleverness of the connections between the stories start to show more and more. Oh, mum, just say I’m a lesbian,’ Rachel told her when Elizabeth asked what she should tell the hairdresser who wanted to know why she hadn’t seen Rachel for so long. The beautiful marriage relationship between central characters (Rachel and Eliza), and indeed the different versions of their selves, is so sensitively rendered.

The result: Something akin to a series of writing exercises, jampacked with interesting ideas that never fully converge. Sin embargo, yo lo considero más del campo de la novela, ya que todas las historias están relacionadas por sus personajes, que aparecen aunque incluso no sean siempre de la misma naturaleza. There is a comprehensive source list at the end of the novel, but some of the influences are more opaque to me, for example Olivia Manning’s The Balkan Trilogy, which seems to be key but I’m unclear why.We begin the book with Eliza and Rachel, a gay couple who decide to start a family with the help of a friend. But there is also an overarching plot: Rachel and Eliza are a lesbian couple, and Rachel is firmly convinced that an ant has entered her body through her eye - which leads to contention in their relationship because Eliza, the scientist, has trouble believing her. The experiments are renowned studies of the imagination; the stuff of philosophers and psychologists.

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