Synopses & Reviews
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An imaginary re-creation of Einstein's discovery of the nature of time, this novel takes us through the young patent clerk's many dreams depicting compelling conceptions of time.
It is ten minutes past six by the invisible clock on the wall. Minute by minute new objects gain form. In the dim light of morning the young patent clerk sprawls in his chair, head down on his desk. For the past several months, he has dreamed many dreams about time. His dreams have taken hold of his research. But the dreaming is finished. Out of many possible natures of time, imagined in as many nights, one seems compelling. Not that the others are impossible. The others might exist in other worlds. The patent clerk is Albert Einstein. In his dreams he imagines new worlds, in which time can be circular, or flow backwards, or slow down at higher altitudes, or take the form of a nightingale. Einstein's Dreams is an enchantment and a literary adventure, one which Salman Rushdie has compared to Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities: "And I really can't think of higher praise. It is at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written. Quite frankly I haven't been so excited by a novel, let alone a first novel, for a very long time".
About the Author
Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and educated at Princeton and the California Institute of Technology. His books include the novels Good Benito
, The Diagnosis
, and Reunion
; a collection of essays and fables, Dance for Two
; and several books on science. His latest, a collection of essays, A Sense of the Mysterious
will be published by Pantheon books in January 2005. He lives in Massachusetts.
From the Trade Paperback edition.