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The Invention of Everything Else

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  1,864 Ratings  ·  363 Reviews
'The Invention of Everything Else' is a moving exploration of human loneliness and isolation, and the opposing powers of emotional and scientific imagination.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published by Harvill Press (first published February 7th 2008)
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Leslie Evans
Feb 24, 2008 Leslie Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I worked at Barnes & Noble, I would occasionally glance at the learning packets sent to all employees company-wide. In a particularly annoying campaign aimed at bringing us wee booksellers into an assumed corporate culture of Book Lust, they introduced us to a term that I despised from the get-go.


Un-put-down-able. Adjective. The otherwise indescribable characteristic of a book that keeps its reader's face glued between its pages. Recommended for use: During sales when a pe
Feb 25, 2008 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even start about how good this book is? I mean first of all it's the best book I've read so far this year. It features many things I love: historically-accurate descriptions of New York City landmarks, NIKOLA TESLA, a love story, government spies, time travel, and that's just to get us started.

I think what it is, it's just that Samantha Hunt writes complete fabric. This is a short book but it is extremely dense, you don't want to miss anything and nor should you. I'm kind of a speed-
Feb 28, 2008 Amitha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It was beautiful in concept, containing a genius (real-life) scientist, time-travel, romance, and espionage, but somehow I had trouble staying interested. The narrative jumped around a lot and was mostly written in present tense, which I found oddly off-putting. The writing was swirly and ambiguous, filled with ambitious metaphors. But still, I'm not sure why I wasn't captivated by this book and the beautiful writing. The author did an excellent job of ...more
Mar 17, 2008 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"God said, 'Let Tesla be,' and all was light."
- B. A. Behrend

Nikola Tesla is arguably one of the most important inventors to have ever lived, yet one of the most unsung. To him, we can credit the efficient alternating electrical current system, the remote control, and the radio (although Marconi stole the patent for that last one). He harnessed Niagara Falls' energy potential, is credited with giving birth to robotics, and his "Tesla Coil" gave us neon and fluorescent lighting and x-ray photogra
Feb 11, 2012 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
THE INVENTION OF EVERYTHING ELSE. (2008). Samantha Hunt. **.
The novel has an interesting premise, but the delivery was faulty. It’s the story of the last days of Nicola Tesla, and the friendship that developed between him and a chambermaid that worked at the New Yorker Hotel where he spent the remaining part of his life. Tesla, to tickle your memory, was a great inventor who did not receive credit for much of his work because he didn’t reduce most of it to practice. He is credited with the inve
Kevin Fanning
May 04, 2008 Kevin Fanning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here, we'll just use the email I sent to Meg after finishing this:

I really wish The Invention of Everything Else came with a director's
commentary DVD because I don't know how you write a book like this.
Each of the strands in the story is kind of like a perfect little
piece of art, and she just places them perfectly, and you're like Wow,
what is she going to do with that later, I wonder? And she's like No.
Nothing. Just look at it. And you're like YES. Like she knows exactly
how and when and where to
Oct 04, 2010 Ruby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
For the first 100 pages, I absolutely adored 'The Invention of Everything Else'. I was just waiting for things to come together, but the writing was beautiful and the setting and the details and the pigeons and Freddie. But the thing is, things never seemed really to get together for me. There were two plotlines, Tesla's and Louisa's and they weren't as interwoven as I'd have liked them to be. I started to realize this during the last 50 pages, where I understood that there was no time left to b ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Sam rated it it was amazing
I had a feeling that I would enjoy this book but I honestly did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. Being one of those people that considers Nikola Tesla to be one of the most underrated inventors in the world, I was intrigued to see how Hunt would bring him and his story to life. And do you know what? I was not disappointed. She manages to note only bring the inventor to the fore but also the man himself, showing that there was so much more to him than 'just' AC electricity. The story ...more
May 07, 2012 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
I feel fondly toward this novel. It had some winning fictional and historical characters (Tesla, Edison, Samuel Clemens, Westinghouse, Alfred Nobel) and a romantic setting at the old New Yorker hotel, and historical interest (and accuracy, according to an interview with an author), and some very fine writing ("Arthur is like a glass vase toppled off the windowsill. He's busted into a hundred distracting shards. He's a little scary, confusing her, reflecting light into her eyes from over there an ...more
Ron Charles
Nov 28, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samantha Hunt's magical new novel is a love letter to one of the world's most remarkable inventors. You may never have heard of Nikola Tesla, but he briefly outshone Edison and Westinghouse, and from the moment you wake up in the morning, you depend on devices made possible by his revolutionary work with electricity. Tesla was born in Serbia in 1856, and his life followed a rags-to-riches-to-rags trajectory that would sound melodramatic if it weren't so tragic and true -- or told with such surpr ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Samantha Hunt's novel is an historical fiction surrounding the last months of the life of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current electricity. His life was much obscured by the better known Thomas Edison; however, as this book well illuminates, Edison was more rigid, conforming, capitalistic. It is a story about creativity, artistic inspiration, and imagining the unimaginable. What happens if the spirit can transcend into reality? What if a powerful intuition can link us to something i ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Lundberg
An astonishingly beautiful evocation of 1940s New York City, and the last days of Nikola Tesla, as befriended by Louisa, a chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker. Poignant and gorgeously told, with an honest enthusiasm for the age of invention, brought to a screeching close by the advent of corporations and the commodification of the natural world. Hunt manages to bring Tesla to life through his interactions with Louisa, his long-term relationship with a pet pigeon, and his letters to Samuel Clemen ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
I really didn't like Hunt's writing style. Some sentences seemed sloppily constructed where I had to read them again to understand what was being said. Her imagery focused on things like nose hair and peeling skin. So many odd, random, disconnected things were in here that didn't add to whatever plot there was. Did we need a scene of animal torture?? This is supposedly set in 1943 but I never felt that flavour in the text. If this is supposed to be a fictionalization biography of Tesla, I was to ...more
Feb 25, 2008 Danna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Everybody steals in commerce and industry. I've stolen a lot myself. But I know how to steal." Thomas Edison

An understatement, to say the least.

I'm a few chapters into this marvelously imagined and deftly written novel, which pivots around extraordinary inventor Nikola Tesla - a man clearly more interested in the landscape of ideas than receiving fame or credit for his inventions - and an unlikely relationship that develops with a young chambermaid. Pigeons feature prominently. A brilliant rea
Nov 27, 2008 Zach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Invention of Everything Else” was a beautifully written story – the kind of story that I would aspire to writing because it so masterfully combines lovely imagery with brilliant and inspiring ideas: it is both a poem and a philosophy, a soul and a story, depicting love, life, and all of the most touching interstices therein.
Jun 06, 2008 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really whetted my appetite to learn more about Tesla. What a fascinating man. I wish he were here with us today to help solve the energy crises. Hunt's book is fanciful, entertaining, well-researched and well-written.
Donna Quijotte
Şu an için Tesla kitabın çok az bir bölümünde yer almasına rağmen (Türkiye'de kitabın basım adı Tesla'nın Kutusu sırf bu sebeple insan daha fazla Tesla bekliyor.) tüm karakterler hakkındaki gelişmeleri merakla bekliyorum. Azor nereden çıktı, Zaman Makina'sı mı, yok artık.. Arthur ile Luisa evlenecek mi, nasıl yani.. Walter hafif kafadan sıyrık mı? Merak, merak, merak...


Herkesin Tesla'nın biyografisini okuduğu sıcak Mayıs ayında, biraz farklı olmak adına, biraz da adının ve arka kapağının il
Jun 09, 2011 Jeruen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I had published a book review. In fact, it was 17 days since I published the last book review I had. And there is a reason for that.

The thing is, I am one of those people in which I cannot leave a book half-read. Even if I disliked the book, I would try to read it all the way to the end, with the hope that somewhere in the middle, the book would change a bit, and I would come to like it. Most of the times, the books would turn out that way, you know, those books that just
Jul 26, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fun. It's about Nicola Tesla, but it's part historial fiction and part fantastical fiction but it works. Tesla is an often under-credited inventor, who invented wireless communication and alternating current electricity. So why is it that Marconi and Edison are who we know for these inventions? Essentially because Tesla was inventing, but not patenting. He was concerned with the ideas and sharing them, but missed out on capitalism.
My dad really liked Tesla. I wish I could have a convers
So many reviews berate this book for disparate plot-lines that don't go anywhere and don't eventually get tied together. These observations are not untrue. But, for me, they are precisely the things that make this book so beautiful. Our selves, our relationships, our worlds, our lives, are fragments. Some of them sad, some of them beautiful, some of them magical, and some of them downright weird. Many of them are pieces we share with someone else's story. And not all the pieces add up - not to 4 ...more
Julie Whelan
Jan 11, 2009 Julie Whelan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksread
This is a very interesting book combining biographical and historical and even sci fi aspects. The main characters are Nicholas Tesla the physicist and inventor, Louisa, a chambermaid at the Hotel New Yorker; Walter, Louisa's father, a night watchman at the New York Public Library and Azor, Walter's friend since boyhood. The struggles of Nicholas Tesla to come to the U.S. and develop his inventions (notably AC current) are painful. Thomas Edison uses him cruelly, others befriend him (J.P. Morgan ...more
Jun 20, 2009 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have found myself thinking about it in the weeks since I finished it. Before I read the book, I read someplace that this would be a hit with fans of The Time Traveler's Wife, and I can see why that connection was made. While this novel doesn't have lovers shuttling back and forth in time, the element of time travel is one of the secondary plotlines, but thankfully not in a geeky annoying science fiction way, thankfully.

The story revolves around Louisa, a young
Linda Robinson
Jul 10, 2011 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had invented reasons not to like this book. Any woman who is on any list of fabulous under 35 raises my eyebrows. And my super-sensory fault-finding devices. It's historical fiction, which I claim not to like out loud regularly. I loved this book. The electricity that plays both a protagonist and antagonist role zizzes on every page. Tesla is wholly imagined, as though he is sitting in a chair next to you reading the book, correcting impressions, making suggestions. Louisa is human and otherwo ...more
Sep 30, 2014 amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Copy and pasted conversational thoughts: I have been trying to decide how exactly I feel about it! it was well written (its prose was lovely, and for the most part, the organization and narrative were very good too) and had beautiful ideas but it wasn't as full-bodied as I needed them to be (if that makes sense) in order for me to really like/savor the book and to recommend it to others. usually I give a book four stars if I would read it again or would recommend it to someone else, and this did ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wpff-main
Towards the end of his life, the scientist and electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla lived in a hotel and fed pigeons. He never made a fortune from his inventions, but the scientific principles he discovered which enabled their and other devices to be developed hold true and are still taught. He is one of a select band of scientists to have an SI unit named in his honour (for magnetic flux density). This book takes some of the facts of Tesla's life and weaves it together with a fictitious story of the ...more
Mister Mank
Apr 18, 2008 Mister Mank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Samantha Hunt is a very gifted writer.

Fact and fiction, science and imagination, life and death (oh, and love and love) are blurred. Hunt brings Tesla to life -- so much so that I considered dropping by the New Yorker for a visit. Everyone is so goddamn likable in Hunt's head (except Edison, though I guess he had it coming to him) that I was smitten for several days. Beautiful, funny, sad, and well-told; I think you ought to read it. However, I would not recommend this book if you are against pi
Jun 15, 2012 W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I started this book, had no idea what was going on, forgot what happened, then started again. When I did, I really read it and I was shocked by how good it was. There's a ton of technical language that I'm not sure if it even makes sense but it sounds cool. I know Nikola Tesla was a real person but what else in the book is real, I'm not sure. I liked the way the book was written. I liked the little details, the many famous people mentioned. I liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. ...more
Apr 21, 2014 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love "The Invention of Everything Else" by Samantha Hunt but it didn't happen. The pieces were there like early 20th century NYC, the Hotel New Yorker, time travel, love and loss, and even some Tesla, Twain and Edison but it didn't gel for me. The writing was thoughtful and it was cool to witness creative scientific minds at work.
Apr 10, 2015 Jessi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book! Scientists, love, inventors, and curiosity, held in an air of magic. The characters, are just lovable, every single one of them, the pigeons are, what the heck are they? I don't know but they BELONG! Disappointments, sorrow, joy, discovery, it is all in this little novel, rich with imagery, and hope.
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Mr Tesla 2 34 Dec 15, 2008 09:25PM  
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Samantha Hunt was born in 1971 in Pound Ridge, New York, the youngest of six siblings. She was raised in a house built in 1765 which wasn't haunted in the traditional sense but was so overstuffed with books— good and bad ones— that it had the effect of haunting Hunt all the same. Her mother is a painter and her father was an editor. In 1989 Hunt moved to Vermont where she studied literature, print ...more
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“I'll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I've gotten to building my own time machine.” 19 likes
“Wait," I say. "I think you're mistaken. Saying there is no dream is the same as saying everything is a dream. Isn't it? Everyone's a dreamer? Extraordinary things happen all the time even when we're awake. What I meant to suggest to you, if indeed that was me in your dream doing the suggesting, is that there is only one world. This one. The dream is real. The ordinary is the wonderful. The wonderful is the ordinary.” 11 likes
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