The Theory of Everything

Lisa Grunwald, Author, Victoria Wilson, Editor Knopf Publishing Group $20 (336p) ISBN 978-0-394-58149-1
Grunwald's second novel (after Summer ) displays the conflict between the opposing worlds of science and magic. Alexander Simon, a 30-year-old New York physicist, thinks he's on the verge of discovering the theory of everything--a theory that will unite all other scientific theories. If he's about to pin down the scientific meaning of life, Alexander is horrible at actually living it. He is a scientific man who dreams of angels and fights the ghosts left by his flaky mother, Alice, who left home when he was 11. Though he moves in with his girlfriend, he can't tell her he loves her. Rather than deal with his life, Alexander escapes to work, the only place where he can force the world to make sense. When mother Alice returns, she and a palm-reader friend show him that he, like Alice, longs for the magic. He again sets off in search of the theory of everything, but this time it's a much older theory--the practice of alchemy and its quest for the secrets of the universe. Unfortunately, what Grunwald means to be a fascinating foray into the realm of magic often is awkward. Like Alexander, the reader hovers between belief and disbelief in the ethereal. But Grunwald's lyrical and sensitive prose reveals her real strength--allowing characters and their relationships to develop into an exceptionally readable story. Her considerable insight into the mechanics of human alliances and emotions provides many flashes of recognition. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-09495-2
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-446-39368-3
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