Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lightning” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  340 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Drawn from the life of Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors of his time,Lightning is a captivating tale of one man’s curious fascination with the marvels of science.

Hailed by the Washington Post as “the most distinctive voice of his generation,” Echenoz traces the notable career of Gregor, a precocious young engineer from Eastern Europe, who travels across the Atlan
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by New Press, The (first published 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lightning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lightning

The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Tiger's Wife by Téa ObrehtThe Absolutist by John BoyneThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Impac Dublin Award 2013 Long List
99th out of 154 books — 49 voters
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryLes Misérables by Victor HugoThe Stranger by Albert CamusThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Best French Literature
440th out of 545 books — 980 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 602)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Come descritto nella quarta di copertina questa è una possibile biografia di Nikola Tesla, scienziato e studioso di elettricità a cui va il merito di aver scoperto la corrente alternata che ha permesso la grande distribuzione di questa forma energetica, con le applicazioni che tutti conosciamo.
Nel romanzo non si fa mai il nome del vero studioso che viene chiamato Gregor, questo probabilmente perché buona parte delle storia, soprattutto quella terminale, si basa su sporadici documenti e testimon
Erik Simon
A wonder of a novel. My second Echenoz in as many days, and I marvel at how his slim little tomes can be so expansive. I've not read anything like him before; his straightforward narratives crackle with such quiet originality it's as if they're the oddest type of avant garde.
Monica Carter
It's also evident, by the way, that Gregor prefers to be alone and live alone in general, and to look at himself in mirrors rather than at other people, and to do without women even though they find him very attractive: he's quite handsome, quite tall, brilliant, has a way with words, he's not yet forty, and he's available. Even though he's certainly not indifferent, given that he's not any fonder of men, the the fact that women cluster discreetly around him, so far Gregor apparently prefers th
This short novella is a beautifully wrought miniature of Nikola Tesla. It begins with his birth, ends with his death, and roughly covers everything major in between -- although oddly fictionalizes the name of the main character calling him "Gregor", even though the other characters have their real names (e.g., Edison and Westinghouse) and it has an almost non fiction level of accuracy in depicting Tesla's life.

The narrative conveys both the wonder of invention and Tesla's madness, as well as the
I'm filing this under "cautionary tales of eccentric genius." Echenoz's lighter-than-air novelization of the life of Nikola Tesla (re-branded as "Gregor") was a perfectly satisfying way to spend a couple hours. Its narrative arc is that of a genius whose ability to think outside the box and leapfrog over others' ideas loses in time its anchor in reality, becoming a way of avoiding reality. That dark irony is what gives weight to a novel that is otherwise all surface and velocity. In spite of esc ...more
Wat voorafging: ergens lang geleden, ten tijde van Edison, liep een bijzondere uitvinder rond die onder meer de uitvinder van de wisselstroom kan genoemd worden. Recenter loopt hier ergens een geniale schrijver rond, Echenoz, die in het leven van Tesla een schitterend boek ziet. Dit levert het schitterende gefictionaliseerde verhaal van Tesla's leven, met het personage Gregor dat gebaseerd is op Tesla, en dat er bovendien heel erg op lijkt.

Wie is Gregor?
Geboren tijdens een daverend onweer, erge
Gregor is quite a remarkable character. On the one hand he is a brilliant, beta scientist; so one would think he is exact; one the other hand he has all these general ideas which he doesn’t care to work out in more exact details before going ‘on the market’ and thus showing himself as a somewhat naive person. On the one hand he is a shy person, living by himself in hotels; on the other hand he wants to show off publicly his inventions.
These contradictions, and more, are in good hands with Jean E
Will E
I had no idea Edison was such an asshole!
Perché non dire chiaramente Tesla?
Lightning: A Novel, a small volume from a new hybrid genre of fictionalized biography, insinuated its way into my towering library borrowings stack. It was a quick read with an educational payoff.

This is biography as storytelling, a narrative speculation on the life of neurotic, revolutionary inventor Nikola Tesla. The fictionalized specific events, closely based on the history of Tesla's inventions, and the author's speculations into Tesla's emotional state as the picaresque tale of his busines

In a review of Tom McCarthy's C from last year, I noted that McCarthy's novel--despite its much-vaunted use of ideas from second-wave cybernetics and Systems Theory--was really an updated version of naturalism that shares more in common with Thomas Hardy than the formal innovations of Modernism. The main innovation in C is that, instead of making its protagonist a Christ-like innocent as in Jude the Obscure, the main character, Serge, is a flat, affectless figure typical of "postmodern" texts. I ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Make no mistake about it, the protagonist of Jean Echenoz latest novella Lightning, the third and final entry in his “three lives” trilogy, may be named Gregor for some unknown reason, but he is really meant to be a fictional representation of the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla. Why Echenoz chose to use a fake name for Tesla, but not any of the major players he interacted with over the course of his entire lifetime, famous folk like Westinghouse, Edison, and J.P. Morgan is a bit baffling, but l ...more
La premessa è che dietro a Gregor, il protagonista, si cela Nikola Tesla (chi?!??!?): nome conosciuto solo come misura dell'induzione magnetica.
Quindi era anche una persona. Bene, io ho sempre pensato a un acronimo...
Lui è strampalato, anzi, strano proprio. Figura geniale, affascinante ma, diciamolo, francamente irritante la sua arroganza, il suo disinteresse per tutto, le sue manie.
Però (perché, diciamocelo, c'è sempre un però). Però Echenoz riesce a prendere un nome attualmente poco conosciuto
This elegant fable follows the rise and fall of Gregor, a brilliant inventor modeled on Nikolai Tesla.After he immigrates from Eastern Europe, Gregor befriends Thomas Edison, then becomes his rival in the burgeoning field of electricity and global communication. Like many great men, Gregor is alternately worshipped and ridiculed as a crackpot. And like many geniuses, his intellectual gifts outshine his social skills and business savvy. Echinoz is hardly the first writer to fictionalize Tesla, wh ...more
Raro de Concurso
Biografía novelada, que no quiere presentarse como un calco de la realidad, pero que bebe directamente de una amplia documentación sobre el ingeniero Nikola Tesla. Un relato breve, pero intenso, sobre la vida de uno de los inventores más prolíficos y más influyentes en la sociedad del S.XX. Inventor de la telegrafía sin hilos, la radio y la corriente alterna, entre otros estudios y aplicaciones sobre magnetismo e inducción electromagnética. También es el relato del clásico científico asocial, ra ...more
Emmanuel Medina
La figura enigmática del científico Nikola Tesla sirve como pretexto para contar en una inquietante, breve y nebulosa novelita su historia bajo otro nombre. Si en la película "El Gran Truco", Christopher Nolan ponía a David Bowie a actuar su persona, aquí Jean Echenoz pone a un ser humano, cualquiera, desvalído y lleno de ideas, prácticas unas, asombrosas otras y la mayoría fantasiosas, en la lucha por enfrentar realidad y delirio. Un libro que se lee como beber una buena bebida caliente una tar ...more
A fictional retelling of Nikola Tesla's life, the lead has another name but it's totally inspired by Tesla's life, electricity, inventions and pigeons all included. For the reader who knows Tesla's life, its eccentric life style, his idiocracies, Echenoz blends and condenses perfectly the larger than life character. The omniscient narrator highlights Gregor's many manic tendencies from the number 3, to incessant counting of stairs, people, birds, to his fear of germs. It's a very lucid portrait ...more
Massimiliano Laviola
Prima di leggere questo libro, Tesla era, almeno per me, solo una fredda unità di misura di campi magnetici.
Invece è stato un uomo straordinario al quale dobbiano grandi invenzioni, in gran parte attribuite ad altri inventori (ad esempio la radio a Marconi).
E' il racconto di una vita fatta di alti e bassi, e di grandi manie (i multipli del tre e i piccioni. Insomma un vero "personaggio da film", descritto con grande coinvolgimento. E poi si scoprono una sacco di cose sui personaggi di fine 800 e
Raffaele Castagno
Un romanzo "elettrico".

Tra romanzo e biografia le disavventure e le invenzioni del più misterioso scienziato del Novecento Nikola Tesla.

Ottimo divertisment, si perde un po' nel finale.
Yves Gounin
Au risque de rompre l'unanimisme enthousiaste qui a entouré la sortie du dernier opus de Jean Echenoz, j'avoue ma déception.
J'adore Echenoz. J'ai tout lu de lui. C'est prétentieux ; mais c'est vrai ! Ça l'est d'autant qu'il excelle dans le style bref qui fait la marque des Éditions de Minuit. Une prose ciselée. Un humour froid et doux.
Mais depuis trois livres j'ai un problème avec Echenoz.
Certes son style inimitable est toujours là.
Mais ces trois biographies romancées (le pianiste Ravel, le cou
La prosa de Echenoz es amena y no le sobra ni le falta nada. De esos autores que te dice que el personaje es desagradable y el lector no puede detestarlo. Una narración entrañable sin ser cursi.
Mejor que una biografía al uso, aunque el hecho de que Tesla no sea Tesla, sino Gregor, hace que no quede claro dónde acaba la realidad y empieza la ficción.
Leah Lucci
Beautiful writing, but aimless and unsatisfactory, plot-wise.
Echenoz's list method is not as interesting as I'd hoped.
Jun 07, 2014 Nathalie marked it as to-read
Vertaald als flitsen
May 08, 2014 Jimmy added it
I like the pigeons!
This fictional biography of Nikola Tesla was interesting. An insight into the mindset of a genius who is continuously gypped out of what he is owed and cannot seem to slow down to really work through any of his brilliant ideas long enough for it to fully develop its potential. That combination left me both rooting for him to succeed and also thinking he had it coming. This was pretty well written but it did seem like there was a forced interest into his lack thereof in the opposite sex.
Manuel Sanz
Utilizando la técnica de la biografía hace el retrato de una persona obsesiva y maniática uno de los mayores inventores del siglo pasado. Incapaz de prestar su atención durante mucho tiempo a una misma actividad, con la cabeza siempre llena de nuevos inventos que nunca patentará o lo hará de mala manera, facilitando el que otros se se aprovechen de su idea originaria. Acabó viviendo en la indigencia más absoluta. Novela de rápida lectura, entretenida y curiosa.
This was a different little book. Read it for the style.
Para investigar hay que tener una mente obsesiva, pero no siempre puede acabar bien. En el caso de Nikola Tesla, genio,su vida termina según Echenoz de manera desgraciada, por lo que alguien como el con todas sus aberraciones llega a desesperar a cualquier ser humano y también a las palomas, estas serán las causantes de un accidente premeditado para llevarlo a la muerte.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Truth About Marie
  • Les Années
  • Limonov
  • Repetition
  • Fatale
  • Small Lives
  • The Jokers
  • The Prospector
  • Tyrant Memory
  • The Laying On of Hands: Stories
  • Zone
  • The Little Man From Archangel
  • A Man of Parts
  • Le Bal & Snow in Autumn
  • Remember Ben Clayton
  • Fear: A Novel of World War I
  • That Smell and Notes from Prison
  • Un aller simple
Born December 26 (some sources say 23), 1947, in Orange, France; son of Marc (a psychiatrist) and Annie (an engraver) Echenoz; children: Jerome Arthur. Education: Attended Université d'Aix en Provence and Université de Paris (Sorbonne).
More about Jean Echenoz...
Ravel Running I'm Gone 14 Piano

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“È così, ad esempio, che è appena nata la sedia elettrica: da una controcampagna pubblicitaria.” 0 likes
More quotes…