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Omega Minor

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  378 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Berlin, Spring of 1995. While a group of neo-Nazis are preparing an anniversary bash of disastrous proportions, an old physics professor returns to Potsdam to atone for his sins, an Italian postdoc designs an experiment that will determine the fate of the universe, and, in a room at Le Charit?, a Holocaust survivor tells his tale to the willing ear of a young psychologist. ...more
Paperback, 691 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published April 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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MJ Nicholls
Can’t stretch to five stars. Close. Paul Verhaeghen is a former Netherlander teaching in Atlanta as Associate Professor of Psychology at Georgia Tech (as of writing). An unlikely candidate to produce a megalithic masterwork—and he hasn’t, not really. He has produced an excellent, engaging and complex take on the Holocaust and Hiroshima intertwined with a pulp-ish thriller spiced with embarrassing but sincere erotic moments, full of eminently quotable material (see below) and staggeringly erudite ...more
Georgina Koutrouditsou
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Η παρακάτω κριτική δημοσιεύτηκε στο αγαπημένο Dreamers&Co στις 10 Ιουλίου 2017.

Ο 20ος αιώνας θεωρείται «σύντομος» σύμφωνα με τον ιστορικό Eric Hobsbawm. Ωστόσο τα γεγονότα που συνέβησαν κατά τη διάρκειά του δεν μπορούν να χαρακτηριστούν έτσι καθώς συγκλόνισαν τόσο πολύ την ανθρωπότητα που η απόρροια τους κρατάει ως σήμερα. Το Omega Minor είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα που βασίζεται στον παραλογισμό, που τελικά έγινε πράξη. Είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα για το πώς η ανθ
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Let’s get the first thing out of the way because then it’ll be feed=visible. I’ll be recommending Omega Minor to you. A big thumbs up. Not genius ; but big thumbs up. “N.R.”=stamp of approval.

The rest of this Review will be of two parts.

The generation of Shoah survivors is coming to an end. Their words, their stories, their evidence will remain. The epistemological questions will remain. We will continue to ask those questions and depend upon finding their answers in words. But will the words o
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This chunk of pulsating ambition greeted me unaware in a bookshop a few years past. I politely asked my wife if she would buy it for me for Christmas. She obliged, and I read it in a frantic tear, really only pausing to buy her sister who lives in Berlin a copy. Then, it was over and I thought and pondered and moved on. There isn't much that has clung to me in the subsequent years. Maybe between Europe Central and The Kindly Ones I developed a Nazi Fatigue. I don't know.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I guess I'm in the minority here, but this one doesn't do it for me. Does disliking an erudite, heartfelt, Holocaust meganovel make me a monster? I hope not.

I'll start with the good: Verhaeghen's a smart guy, and Omega Minor is a correspondingly smart book with an intricately conceived (though not, I think, successfully executed) plot concerning the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor, the development of the atomic bomb, and a neo-Nazi plot to reorder Berlin, and their various interconnections. If t
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is quite a challenging book. Verhaeghen wrote an encyclopedic novel in which various historical episodes and stories flow together: an evocation of life in Berlin in the 30s and 90s of the last century, the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany including the Holocaust, the development of the atomic bomb, and the experiences of cognitive psychologist Paul Otherman (autobiographical?) in the 90s. Also stylistically it is a very mixed novel, with purely narrative pieces, fragments of introspecti ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dutch, recommended
If a book could buzz, this one would. Omega Minor balances baroque descriptions with life-like storytelling, deeply philosophical thoughts with hard science, history with absurdity. The premises are familiar enough, to the point of weariness: Nazi's, Jews, The Bomb, and the gray academic life of the author's own alter ego. But in the hands of Verhaeghen, these subjects are twisted into a post-modern tale so stupidly ambitious that what impresses most in the end is how he almost, but not quite, m ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
The greek edition is about 900 pages. For about 300 pages i was struggling to read it, thought it was boring, but i was Wrong!!! One of the greatest books i've ever read, the time i dedicated just worth it. Reading it just once certainly is not enough, you cant get deep inside all its meanings and conclusions.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I’ve just finished reading Omega Minor by the Belgian novelist Paul Verhaeghen, a cognitive psychologist now working in the States. Originally published in Dutch, this enormous novel – 700 pages of closely-printed text - was translated into English by its author, winning the Independent Foreign Fiction prize in the process. The English, like the novel itself, is constantly inventive, and slightly quirky; Verhaeghen has stated that he decided to do the translation himself after seeing the lamenta ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
all i can possibly say is wow. epic. huge. for those who read vollmann's europe central, and felt the vastness of what he covered and how he told the story, this is a good next book to read. verhaeghen was his own english translator for this edition, and i think it was a brilliant move on his part. words are so infused with meaning, particularly in this story, that a less capable translator could have made an english edition truly terrible.

verhaeghen is at his best when writing from the perspect
Jason Lundberg
Four narrative strands, seemingly unrelated, sometimes told consecutively in the first person (so the reader has to figure out who's speaking), encompassing 50 years of Berlin history, the Nazi regime, the rise of communism, and the Manhattan Project. Somehow, it manages to not fall apart under its great ambition, and reveals moments of great empathy and emotion. And sex, lots of sex. Nothing is what it seems, and no one, and the stylistic prose is absolutely compelling through all 700 pages. Wi ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, which I actually read some time ago, shortly after it won the translation prize. After I got past a rather unappetising sex scene at the beginning of the book, the mixed bag of fact, fiction and fantasy was a delight! It is a big book, but the reader quickly forgets that once drawn into the different lives and experiences of the various characters during this wonderful voyage through contemporary human experience, culture and history.
May 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I suppose the parts I loved outweighed the parts I absolutely hated in order for me to give it four stars.
Wim Van
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wat een immens, overweldigend boek. Een huzarenstuk. En toch maar vier sterren, omdat er hier en daar een stevige taalfout staat. Onder andere twee dt-fouten. Ronduit pijnlijk, zoiets.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
more like 3.5 stars. there's a lot of good stuff in here although he's a bit too 'contemporary american' at times, especially with the sex scenes.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: verhaeghen
ophelia, upon drowning
(a form of prelude)

im anfang war die tat--in the beginning was the act.
and this is what concludes that act, that serpentine pas-de-deux so skillfully performed against the satin backdrop of the blackest night: a lightening bolt hurls upward in a blinding curve of pristine white, the laws of gravity suspended for a quarter-second.

31 oct 15
i've been back at it here. will take a time to finish. time is short, days are shorter, life is good. onward ever onward. i liked t
Richard O'Brien
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
dit boek werd mij geadverteerd als een "postmoderne" encyclopedische roman zoals we die kennen van pynchon, barth etc. maar verhaeghen is volgens mij iets traditioneler in zijn stijl en het grootste deel van het boek is gewoon vlotjes leesbaar - geen al te cryptische taalfratsen, geen duizenden personages, en een plot die ondanks alles eigenlijk wel goed te volgen valt en een begin en een einde heeft. niks mis mee, natuurlijk.

de hamvraag bij (hier min of meer) historische fictie is: is het span
Dec 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Un roman mal foutu. 1 page remarquable toutes les 100 pages, c'est du gâchis. Je ne sais pas comment l'éditeur a pu laisser passer un truc pareil... les idées sont excellentes, la réalisation est mauvaise, très mauvaise. Déjà le style est très mauvais mais cela peut être éventuellement la faute du traducteur, ensuite l'auteur se sent apparemment obligé de nous faire subir des descriptions gores et violentes toutes les trois pages, au bout d'un moment les scènes de passage à tabac ou de sexe devi ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Omega Minor is a hugely complex novel, but one that is ultimately rewarding. In it, Verhoegan challenges notions of how memory, shared guilt and history interact in a novel that is thought-provoking but which has plenty of humanity at its heart.

In its intertwined narratives, the author has managed to create a novel about the Holocaust that is original and which also demands that we think about it from a completely different perspective – how are we going to remember the events, and properly pla
Stamatis Kourtis
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
The author had some very good ideas regarding the rise of the Nazis, the voluntary and/or involuntary collaboration of germans/jews with the Nazis, etc but I am not quite sure that these ideas were presented thoroughly despite the size of the book. I think it had too many characters and parallel stories.

Also I strongly believe that presenting the phenomenon of neo-Nazis as part of The Plan it does not really say anything against fascism and rather it oversimplifies it.

Finally, don’t read from
ο κανένας κανένας
A novel that seems to be less than the sum of its subplots. Every subplot could be a main theme for a shorter novel, and every subplot is interesting to read and fascinating. However all these subplots dont really add up. Overall it tends to be quite longer than it should be, most of the pages and the sex scenes don't really add substantially to the story while there are also some serious issues on the concluding events.
On the other hand it depicts a fascinating story of the 90s and 30s Berlin a
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the three months it took me to read this, I put it aside many times. It's not that I didn't like it, it's that Omega Minor was incredibly heavy. It was about the Holocaust and nuclear bombs and neo nazis and was told with little to no humor. So....why the 4 stars? Well...Verhaeghen has written a great book that explores many issues of post WWII Germany and the rest of Europe. It's well written, though awkward in some places. Not recommended for anyone looking to do some light reading.
Marina Rottiers
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Erg genoten van dit boek. Meer dan een vier waard, maar geen volmondige vijf. Voor wie houdt van labyrinthverhalen. Voor wie houdt van een cocktail van fictie met non-fictie. Stuk voor stuk sterke personages. Onverwachte plotomwentelingen. Geen licht verhaal maar dat is het leven op deze wereld ook niet. We moeten onszelf niet voorliegen.
Pieter Brouwer
Enkele hoofdstukken vond ik wel leuk, maar het niet het geheel. Het was te veel een vage literaire puzzel. Te prestigieus, ten koste van het leesplezier en de leesbaarheid (en dan heb ik het nog niet over het vreemde einde). Niet iedereen in de leesclub is het met mij eens - zie cijfer.
Leesclubcijfer: 7,8
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very ambitious novel and a literary tour-de-force, but Paul Verhaeghen pulled it of. The Belgian author lives in the US, wrote this masterpiece in Dutch and then translated it into English himself.

Published in 2004, it is about the human condition in the 20th century, really.

A must-read for anyone prepared to be challenged.
Vik Berbé
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The independent: "Slechts weinig romans kunnen deze rijkdom evenaren. Omega minor is een ongewoon intellectuele, weidse en bevredigende ervaring." Wil deze kanjer absoluut nog herlezen, nu niet, eerst effe op adem komen.
Jul 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Complete waste of time.
Lieven Coorevits
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Gestopt na dertig bladzijden. Kwam bij mij over als pretentieus en bewust moeilijk doen.
Nele Fraeyman
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Helaas te veel fantastische stukken afgewisseld met mèh-stukken...
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Paul Verhaeghen is een Vlaamse psycholoog en schrijver.

Paul Verhaeghen in de Nederlandstalige Wikipedia

Paul Verhaeghen in de Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren

Paul Verhaeghen bij "Schrijversgewijs"

Paul Verhaeghen is a Belgian novelist, writing in his native Dutch.

His novels include Lichtenberg (1996) and Omega Minor (2004). Omega Minor has been translated into German (2006, Eichborn
More about Paul Verhaeghen...

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