Synopses & Reviews
"Challenging, beautifully written "--Library Journal
Hailed by The New Yorker as one of the best young novelists and recipient of Germanys most prestigious literary awards, Marcel Beyer returns with a brilliantly wrought novel that brings to life both an individual and a whole world: the zoologist Ludwig Kaltenburg, loosely based on Nobel Prize-winner Konrad Lorenz, and his institute for research into animal behavior.
Hermann Funk first meets Kaltenburg when still a child in Posen in the 1930s. Hermanns father, a botanist, and Kaltenburg are close friends, but a rift occurs. In 1945, fleeing the war, the Funks perish in the Dresden bombing, and Hermann finds his way to Kaltenburgs newly established institute. He becomes Kaltenburgs protégé, embracing the Institutes unconventional methods. Yet parts of Kaltenburgs past life remain unclear. Was he a member of the Nazi Party? Does he believe his discoveries about aggression in animals also apply to humans? Why has he erased the years in Posen from his official biography?
Through layers of memory and experience Hermann struggles to reconcile affection and doubt, to make sense of his childhood, even as he meets a woman with family secrets of her own.
"An engaging portrait...and a poignant one of Tesla...Theres much food for thought here and some very beautiful prose." Kirkus Reviews
“Hunt (The Seas) delivers a breathtaking novel that is both difficult to classify and impossible to ignore." Library Journal
"Oddly charming and pleasantly peculiar, Hunts novel offers a unique perspective on hope and imagining lifes possibilities." Booklist, ALA
“Inspires both awe and envy…Hunt seems to achieve this blend effortlessly…making it more remarkable still with her own offbeat sensibility." Bookpage
"A New York City chambermaid sparks a friendship with oddball inventor Nikola Tesla in Samantha Hunt's dazzling novel." Vanity Fair
"Sophisticated pastiche of science fiction, fantasy, melodrama, and historical anecdote...It all adds up to a precocious math of human marvel." Elle
"Former real-life scientist Nikola Tesla befriends a fictional hotel chambermaid in Samantha Hunt's ingenious work of historical fiction." Marie Claire
"Hunt's magical new novel is a love letter to one of the world's most remarkable inventors…For a moment…everything seems possible." The Washington Post
“[Hunt] puts her considerable talents to work…Tesla's story…is crafted with an intensity...that makes the heart beat faster.” Los Angeles Times
"Full of vivid imagery, sounds, memories…this novel is a sweet story of just how normal it is to be different." Boston Globe
“Hunt's history-steeped tale…reminds us that science necessitates creativity, which also, of course, is the essence of literature." The San Francisco Chronicle
"In her vivid reimagining…Hunt pursues the links between science and creativity and storytelling and invention to their logical extreme.” New York Magazine
“Glorious…pages of prose: daring and delicious, perfectly calibrated, fresh but not raw, original but neither off-putting nor disconcertingly strange." The Chicago Tribune
“[INVENTION is] a smart, colorful novel about aspiration and wish fulfillment in a world…engineers cant control." - The Believer
"Hunt's fascination with language is unmistakable, resulting in beautiful, intimate observations . . . elegant, inspired." The Village Voice
"Marvelous…one wishes these scenes would never end…[it] takes its readers back to a kindler, gentler New York.” - LA Weekly
"Hunt weaves the stranger-than-fiction facts…into an engaging novel…that crackles with the possibility and promise of scientific innovation." - Seed
"An electrified, magnetized concoction that pleases, teases and dazzles…takeoff soaring with her, you will not be disappointed..." - The Oregonian
”The author is rapturous, vividly in love with her subjects and her characters." - New York Observer
"[Hunts] novel might be 2008's 'Special Topics in Calamity Physics'…soulful and scientific at the same time." - Velocity Weekly
“Hunt weaves history and imagination to create a seductively original world…” -- Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment
“A highwire performance by a soulful and wildly intelligent writer.” -- Rene Steinke, author of the NBA-nominated Holy Skirts
“You hold in your hands an important, fun, educational, magic read." -- Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng
"This mesmerizing foray into postwar Germany
by celebrated author Beyer is both a singularly researched work of historical fiction (with an ornithological bent), and a postmodern examination of the nature of memory
.... Beyer paints an engrossing and terrifying picture of Dresden during the war and later under the Communist yoke
. Yet it is Beyers complex interpolation of daily memories—sometimes fused or distorted in a Proustian vein—complete with highly detailed ornithological observations that give this work its exquisite
--Publishers Weekly, starred "Challenging, beautifully written metafiction—to some extent based on the life of Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz—examines the workings of science and the nature of academic competition...Beyer ranges over the decades from Nazism to communism to a reunited Germany to reveal our ability both to remember and to recast unpleasant memories in a more favorable light, and to show what people must hide in order to survive."
From the acclaimed author of the debut novel The Seas -- which won a National Book Award for writers under 35 -- comes this utterly transporting new novel, a wondrous imagining of an unlikely friendship between the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla and a young chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker, where Tesla lives out his last days.
From the moment she first catches sight of Tesla on New Year's Day 1943, Louisa, obsessed with radio dramas and the secret lives of the hotel guests, is determined to befriend this strange man. Winning his attention through their shared love of pigeons, Louisa eventually uncovers the extraordinary story of Tesla's life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius. Meanwhile, Louisa finds herself facing her father's increasingly imminent departure in a time machine, and swept off her feet by a mysterious mechanic (perhaps from the future) named Arthur, who has unexpectedly appeared in her life.
While luminously resurrecting one of the greatest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla -- inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication -- The Invention of Everything Else immerses us in a magical early-twentieth-century New York City thrumming with energy, wonder, and possibility.
From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him.Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Teslainventor of AC electricity and wireless communicationand he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker.Winning his attention through a shared love of pigeons, she eventually uncovers the story of Teslas life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamed of pulling electricity from the sky.The mystery deepens when Louisa reunites with an enigmatic former classmate and faces the loss of her father as he attempts to travel to the past to meet up with his beloved late wife. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention.
The Invention of Everything Else immerses the reader in a magical mid-twentieth-century New York City thrumming with energy, wonder, and possibility.
New York City thrums with energy, wonder, and possibility in this magical novel about the life of Nikola Tesla.
It is 1943, and the renowned inventor Nikola Tesla occupies a forbidden room on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker, stealing electricity. Louisa, a young maid at the hotel determined to befriend him, wins his attention through a shared love of pigeons; with her we hear his tragic and tremendous life story unfold. Meanwhile, Louisa discovers that her father—and her handsome, enigmatic love interest, Arthur Vaughan—are on an unlikely mission to travel back in time and find his beloved late wife. A masterful hybrid of history, biography, and science fiction, The Invention of Everything Else is an absorbing story about love and death and a wonderfully imagined homage to one of history's most visionary scientists.
A book about a great man, a giant in the world of science with all-too-human flaws, Kaltenburg is a beautifully detailed novel from a major German writer that brings to life both an individual and a whole world: Ludwig Kaltenburg and his Dresden Institute for research into animal behavior.
About the Author
SAMANTHA HUNT’s novel about Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, won the National Book Foundation's Five Under Thirty-Five prize. Hunt’s work has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, the New York Times, Tin House, A Public Space, Cabinet, Blind Spot, the London Times and in a number of other fine publications. Her books have been translated into ten languages. She has performed with Jim Jarmusch and Luc Sante at All Tomorrow’s Parties, at Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum and REDCAT, with the National Theater of the United States of America (NTUSA) at PS122, in the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series, at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, and as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Her work has been performed on This American Life and on WNYC's Selected Shorts program. She lives in Tivoli, New York, and teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.