Aug 02, 11
One of the most beautifully written books on the subject of love and existence. Simmons grasp of the numbing aspects of American life is profound and haunting as the protagonist, Jeremy Bremen, embarks on an East to West Odyssean voyage. But rather than running toward the object of desire, Bremen is running away from it in an attempt to destroy his memories.
The journey is framed by Bremen's work, also on memory, that involves pure math, quantum math, and eventually evolves into research in chaos math. The direction of his research mirrors Bremen's own life as he finds love (pure math), loses love (quantum math) and discovers that he may never have lost it (chaos math).
Simmons's balance throughout is masterful. There isn't "too much" math, rather there's a sense that these portions are so deeply part of the larger framework--the story of Bremen and the epic loss of his wife--that to leave them out would change the feel and subtle beauty of the book.
That being said, beware of the more gruesome sections. Simmons's descriptions of a pedophile, a serial killer, and an abused child will disturbingly float in your mind long after the last page has been turned.