Labatut's genre is entirely his own, his philosophy both rigid and curious. With The MANIAC, we're given the lives of Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenreich; the Hungarian-American mathematician Johnny von Neumann, often cited as the grandfather of artificial life, a foundational figure in computational mathematics, a key figure in the development of the hydrogen bomb and a half dozen other surreal acts of destruction, a man endowed with abominable and limitless intelligence, like 'fog on a fog,' and yet unable to tie his own shoes; and finally, a chilling play-by-play of global Go champion Lee Sodel's historic 2016 match against Google's AlphaGo AI in South Korea—often cited as the first moment in history in which artificial intelligence expresses 'creativity.' How does this triptych form, in my opinion, one of the greatest novels of this year, a stunning, hair-raising literary achievement? It is difficult not to let Labatut's obsessions become your own. To see clearly what we will soon lose to our own intelligence. Benjamin Labatut dwells in the foggy, cosmic, uncanny valley amidst math, science, history, and literature.
Almost no one who has been the Master of Starling House through the centuries has been born a Starling. They became one through choice, a voice in their head, a home in their dreams, Starling House called to them all. To become Master is a contract with the house itself, to be given a home in exchange for giving their life to protect the community from the unspeakable horror that hunts Eden, KY. Now the house calls to Opal, raised in its shadow, with the promise of a home for her brother and herself. But for a new Master to assume responsibility, the old one must die, and what if HIS face also haunts her dreams and calls to her heart?
It begins as a sweet, playful romance. Rosemary and Ash have a thing going–whatever that may mean. As an assistant professor, Rosemary is good with words, while Ash is an artisan who makes everything by hand. Everything is syrupy sweet until it becomes acrid. As a horror novel, you know that something sinister lurks around the corner, bubbling right under the surface, but you’re not quite sure what it is that is itching at the back of your mind until it drenches you like a bucket of ice. This is perfect for those who are allured by the thrill and the sense of dread that slowly spreads through your veins until it consumes you.
A woman vacationing in the Austrian mountains awakes one morning to find herself cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. With only a dog for company, she must learn to live off the land; hunting, farming and scouting for supplies all while maintaining her sanity. The prose of this translated work is straightforward and somewhat bleak, touching on themes of identity, women's "worth" and the importance (or not) of physical appearance. Haunting and beautifully original, this is a book I'll be thinking about for a long time.
Bewitchingly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, wrapped in a sensuous blanket of sophisticated and eerie prose. Nothing felt real yet Bernstein's perception of the most basic human emotions, most remarkably hate, is simultaneously stunning, horrific, and oddly the most real thing I've ever read.
Utterly charming and simply sweet. A wonderful tale of the joy of reading and the community found among the shelves of well-loved and oft neglected books.
The beauty of this little book is that you'll be confused as you are comforted by Lispector's dense but sensical ramblings and yearning akin to no other. Clarice's mind is a mystery but a beautiful one at that.
Such a strong and ambitious and creative debut. Habeck made me fully believe in this world where a shark or reptile or zebra mutation is just as typical but cutting as a cancer diagnosis. She combines playwriting and poetry with prose that’s familiar but fresh and exciting. I will be thinking about and loving these characters for a long time.
Are you scared of what lies below the surface? Don't be! Or do. I don't know your life. But Imbler is able to make the creatures that live there so reachable (you'll learn something!) while not reaching too far to liken them to their own life (you'll feel something) on their mission toward identity, love, beauty, community, survival. We're more alike than we seem.
This is like the nonfiction equivalent to Our Wives Under the Sea.
Easily seduced by tales of outliers or a wicked protagonist, this book's promise of a woman's "ill-fated transformation" was beyond irresistible.
Mary Ellen (or is she Dedee? or maybe Natalie?) crept under my skin and made me squirm, squirm, squirm.