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In Free Fall: A Novel
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In Free Fall: A Novel

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  587 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Oskar and Sebastian, both brilliant physicists, have been close friends ever since they first met at university. But now their relationship is strained by distance, competing philosophies, and Oskar’s belief that Sebastian fell into mediocrity after having a wife and child. When Sebastian’s is seemingly kidnapped, their friendship is further tested. Because Sebastian will ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2007)
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I do like a book that comes to a suitably satisfying solution, one that I had had an inkling of all along, but is still not too obvious, so that I can lean back and sigh and say, yessssssss, I thought it was him, yes, I read those subtle hints correctly, pat on the back, didn't miss a trick, you don't put much past me.
I do like a book that makes me sit up, startled into a whoop of WOW! I never saw that coming! And sends me scurrying back to page 127 to read the telephone conversation between Osk
Like my man Wally Abish, you crack the spine and ask, "How German Is It"? Über, mein gelehrter freund!

Seriously, what is more German than a high brow police procedural about physicists and a murder in a university town on the edge of the Black Forest? Also, peep the author's photo. It's endearingly weird and Teutonic.

Positioned on the moderately arty end of the crime novel spectrum, Zeh has leavened genre convention with a hearty dose of epistemological thinkables and nuggets o' quantum mechanic
In In Free Fall, author Juli Zeh combines murder, mental health, and the time-space continuum to create cinematic murder mystery. Originally published in German and titled Schilf, after the detective who solves the case, there is very little mystery about who the killer is, or his motive for that matter. It's the contrast between the characters, their thought processes, and how they come to terms.

Detective Schilf, for one, is a combination between an ancient mystic and an idiot-savant. He litera
Shruti Rao
It's only after a harrowed search on Goodreads for a copy of Dark Matter for days did I chance upon the fact that it Zeh's novel, originally in German, was released in America as In Free Fall. Thanks, USA.

There are books you read and love, and then there are the ones you read when you're going through a personal crisis and the words on the page seem like a hallucination. Surely the author didn't know exactly how to articulate your dense, impenetrable chaos? You read the book in a drunken frenzy,
Tudor Ciocarlie
The prose is superb, the characters well written, but the whole theme of this book is a little simplistic and artificial.
Friederike Knabe
If you are looking for an absorbing and fast moving crime thriller, you will be disappointed in Juli Zeh's "In Free Fall" ("Schilf" in the original German). In this novel the crime and its perpetrator are known pretty much from the beginning; the perpetrator even tells us about it in detail. There is some doubt about the state of mind of the killer at the time of his action and his rationale for it. His claim that he was commandeered by phone by the "kidnappers" of his son falls apart very quick ...more
DARK MATTER is one of those books that I picked up with considerable happy anticipation, so was more than a little startled to find myself really struggling to get into the start of it. Until a point at which I found I wasn't struggling and was completely absorbed.

And I suspect that's very much what the book is set out to do. Set in Freiburg near the Black Forest, the book starts out with two men and their obsessions. Their friendship begins at University, studying physics - Sebastian, retains h
book that made waves and I kept an eye on it, finally bought a copy...
read only a chapter or so but very deserving of the acclaim so far

a little disappointing in the end; very clever and well written but reads more like a puzzle than a novel with characters that are flat and lifeless with few exceptions

the physics involved is very 20-30's rather than modern (as a few tidbits, the many worlds interpretation in its modern Multiverse incarnation is something taken very seriously today not a fringe
Kai Schreiber
Zeh hat sich ein bisschen am Thema übernommen. Die Diskussionen auf höchstem Niveau schrammen immer ein wenig an den relevanten Punkten vorbei, und die Behauptung, Kopernikus habe die flache Erde wiederlegt einem hochgebildeten Physiker in den Mund zu legen ist beinahe schon ein wenig peinlich, das Buzzthema freier Wille ist angeklebt - nur weil der öffentliche Diskurs Zufall und Freiheit andauernd verwechselt, müssen die Fachleute in Romanen das ja nicht auch tun - und die Natur der Viel-Welten ...more
Perfection in a maze where smart poignant replies and moves makes it all worth it. A psychological sort of language about the meaning of time, a trial of errors when creating parallel worlds to prove a point.
Priscila Jordão
Although we may classify "In free fall" as crime book, it is much better defined as a novel of ideas.

Zeh reveals from the beginning the identity of the murderer: a physics professor who is blackmailed to kill a friend of his wife. The victim is, on his turn, involved in a medical scandal. What is not clear is why the professor is forced to do it and by whom.

The development of the plot is very surprising, as it has to do with physic theories concerning reality, randomness and freedom. The concep
Kay Sachse
Ob hochwissenschaftlich, philosophisch oder theoretisch verklärt, letztendlich geht es bei vielen Kriminalfällen doch immer wieder um allzu Zwischenmenschliches.
Die ganze Geschichte dreht sich einerseits um zwei Physiker, die voneinander nicht lassen können und in ihrer mehr oder weniger verklemmten Homosexualität gefangen sind, während sie ihre emotionale Auseinandersetzung über das Thema der Physik austragen, und andererseits um den Ermittler Schilf, der seinem Tode zutreibt, vorher aber noch
Ferda Nihat Köksoy
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-Günümüzde İNSANIN YÜZÜNE DEĞİL, BAŞKA TARAFLARA BAKAN insanların sayısı süratle artmaktadır.

-Bir gölde gördüğünüz 2 DALIN suyun içinde 1 DALDAN çıkabileceğini unutmayın.

-GERÇEK, dünyadaki 7 MİLYAR TARAF (i
First-reads giveaway win!

Sebastian and Oskar, both physicists, are either friends (perhaps secret lovers?) or bitter rivals. They shared a common bond – the love of physics (and maybe love for each other?). The desire for knowledge about the universe and beyond drives them both to unthinkable deeds.

In Free Fall by Juli Zeh was a great read. I was instantly drawn to the characters and the setting. I loved that the story was set in a city in Germany that I’ve actually visited! I could picture Fr
Kathleen Hagen
In Free Fall, by Juli Zeh, (translated from German) A-minus, narrated by Mark Branhill, produced by Random House Audio, and downloaded from

This book is strange, but with razor-sharp humor and characters who are quirky but somewhat charming. Chapter headings are summaries of what will be in the chapter, such as: “A child is kidnapped but does not know it. One man dies, two physicists fight, and a senior constable falls in love. In the end, everything is different...yet
exactly the sam
DARK MATTER is one of those books that I picked up with considerable happy anticipation, so was more than a little startled to find myself really struggling to get into the start of it. Until a point at which I found I wasn't struggling and was completely absorbed.

And I suspect that's very much what the book is set out to do. Set in Freiburg near the Black Forest, the book starts out with two men and their obsessions. Their friendship begins at University, studying physics - Sebastian, retains h
Would you commit murder as the ransom for your kidnapped child? Was physicist Sebastian's son, Liam, really kidnapped or is Liam's kidnapping a story his father invented? Is there a parallel universe where other versions of our lives play out? These questions all form part of the strange plot of Juli Zeh's intriguing police procedural In Free Fall whose quirky cast of characters include two physicists, a socially awkward female detective, and a senior detective with a terminal brain tumor.

Um was es hier geht? Um die Physik im Allgemeinen und die Frage nach der Möglichkeit von Zeitreisen im Speziellen. In erster Linie ist es aber ein Krimi. Und letztlich steht hinter alldem die Frage, ob die Wirklichkeit, in der wir leben und die wir wahrnehmen, wirklich einzigartig ist oder ob sie vielleicht nur eine Möglichkeit unter vielen ist.

Okay, das war eine Einleitung, die maximal viele Leser vergraulen dürfte. Bitte nicht – sonst verpasst ihr ein tolles, durchdachtes und sehr außergewöhnl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Kautz
Sie möchte ihn packen und schütteln und anschreien, oder vielleicht auch umarmen und streicheln und an ihm riechen..

Wenn M. in ihrem bisherigen Leben etwas weniger Glück und etwas mehr Unglück erfahren hätte, würde sie den Rufnamen dieser Leere kennen: Angst.

...unverzeihliche Fehler.. zeichnen sich nicht durch Unachtsamkeit, Irrtum oder das Fehlen besseren Wissens aus. Ihre Besonderheit besteht darin, auch bei Kenntnis aller Umstände keine Alternative zuzulassen.

Die Mischung ihrer Körpergerüche
Ik had Vrije val niet op een beter gekozen moment kunnen lezen, denk ik... Nog niet zolang gelezen heb ik 1984 herlezen, maar vooral Alle mensen heten Janus dat ik een week voor het lezen van Vrije val heb uitgelezen, heeft ervoor gezorgd dat ik met nog meer plezier dit boek van Zeh heb gelezen. Niet alleen omdat allerlei idee���n en (wetenschappelijke) theorie���n waar Zeh mee 'speelt' in dit boek, in Janus aan de orde kwamen, maar vooral omdat het thema van beide boeken voor mijn gevoel overee ...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
Mar 17, 2011 Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Books R Us
Shelves: reviewed
This review first appeared on my blog:

A strange, symbiotic friendship between Sebastian and Oskar . . . visits with each other that feel like confrontations . . . a doctor's patients that seem to have died from drug experimentation . . . a murder based on a misunderstanding . . . and conflict over the "Many Worlds" theory, which basically means that everything that can happen HAS happened on a parallel timeline . . .

These are some of the happenings in thi
Ihre Wortgewalt ist eine ihrer großen Stärken, aber leider hält ihr Können als Erzählerin einer mitreissenden Geschichte da nicht mit - Juli Zeh schreibt auch in "Schilf" wieder ungezählte großartige, starke Sätze, aber die Motivationslage ihrer Protagonisten vermag sie an der entscheidenden Stelle nicht überzeugend zu vermitteln. Dass eine derart finale Entscheidung, wie sie im Mittelpunkt der Erzählung steht, so kurzfristig und geradezu in Panik getroffen wird, ist zwar vorstellbar, aber eben ...more
I received a free copy of this book as a first reads promotion. I was skeptical, thinking how good can it be if they are giving copies away? After reading 2 pages my skepticism was gone. After 5 pages I was hooked.

The writing in this book is really interesting. Lyrical without being overwrought, cerebral without being pretentious.

This book is classified as a mystery by the publisher, but it is not a conventional mystery. The crime and the perpetrator are revealed in the narrative. The mystery l
'I am a religious atheist. I believe that the existence of the world cannot be explained to us. It takes a truly metaphysical strength to accept this.'

That is to say: not your ordinary crime novel. The characters are unforgettable. If you think that the main two, Oskar and Sebastian are, erm... peculiar, wait until you discover the rest of them. In a book that explores concepts such as parallel universes, time travel murderers, many-worlds interpretations, the nature of time and space etc... the
I had my reservations at first, but after getting lost in the beautiful prose at the beginning, I was hooked. An interesting, and often times, cerebral read, this book delivered.

The relationship between Oskar and Sebastian was aggravating and fascinating at the same time. At times, I wanted to smack them both for their petty jealousies of each other, but it was real and honest. I felt bad for them both in the end. I loved the flaws nature of each of the characters, and I could relate to all of t
Timothy Hallinan
The first Juli Zeh novel I've read, FREE FALL won't be the last. She's a fiercely intelligent writer playing some very inventive games with the mystery form. Oskar and Sebastian are one-time kindreds souls, brilliant physicists inseparable as students but gradually estranged over conflicting creation theories, for want of a better term. Sebastian has found a new life with a wife and child, but Oskar is a fierce solitary except for the one night a month he comes to dinner. And then a nightmare be ...more
Beim ersten Lesedurchgang schon richtig gut.
Nachtrag: Habe jetzt nochmal quer gelesen und was dazu geschrieben:

Sehr blumige und Metaphern-reiche Sprache, schön dass auch mal wieder etwas poetischer und bildhafter geschrieben wird!
Gerne hätte ich mehr Physik im Buch gehabt, auf allgemeinverständlichem Level.
Die Einwürfe sind so zwar spannend, aber ohne Vorkenntnisse bleibt es teilweise recht abstrakt.
Ob Juli Zeh in ihrem Buch "das Wesen der Zeit" erklärt ha
I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

In Free Fall is a fast moving suspense novel. A pair of dueling physicists provides refreshing subject matter as does the notion of research on time and parallel time lines in a non-science fiction realm. The relationship between Sebastian and Oskar, friends and physicists, is complicated and intriguing. A smart cast of characters and vivid descriptors round out the story. All of the tie-ins to birds and the senior detective's br
Ioana Nutulescu
The first pages made me think of it as a book that's filled just to be filled - nothing heavy about it but pretty imagery in pretty expression. I then perceived it as the kind of piece that requires patience. The one you read slowly, to grasp the meanings despite the restorative fact that it's rather easy to read - inspired, simple, gracious choice of words.
Schilf (cleverly chosen, as it is the German word for "reed"), is a queer police detective who is dying of brain tumour. Working on his last
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Juli Zeh is a German novelist.

Her first book was Adler und Engel (in English: Eagles and Angels), which won the 2002 Deutscher Bücherpreis for best debut novel.

Juli Zeh has lived in Leipzig since 1995. Zeh studied human rights law in Passau and Leipzig, passing the Zweites Juristisches Staatsexamen - comparable equivalent to the U.S. bar exam - in 2003. She also has a degree from the Deutsches Li
More about Juli Zeh...
Spieltrieb Corpus Delicti. Ein Prozess Nullzeit Eagles And Angels De stilte is een geluid - Een reis door Bosnië

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“Retten will man eigentlich immer nur sich selbst. Was variiert, ist das Wovor.” 4 likes
“[A]ber eigentlich ist doch gerade ein starker Wille das Markenzeichen des schwachen Menschen. Denn als solcher muss er ständig etwas wollen. Er muss wirken und werken, probieren und trainieren, derweil dem Starken alles wie von selbst gelingt.” 3 likes
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