Patricia Rockwell's Reviews > Love at Absolute Zero

Love at Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks
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's review
Oct 02, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Not sure if this is romantic fiction or just light fiction. The author manages to mix philosophy into the plot seamlessly and as the story is told from the point of view of a research physicist, there's lots of commentary.

Gunnar Gunderson is a young physicist with a good teaching/research job at the University of Wisconsin. He and his team of two like nerdy guys are searching for a supposedly non-existent particle that might show up if they manage to get it cold enough (absolute zero). The particle is somewhat like Gunnar's love life--zero. His knowledge of women is woefully lacking--and his Ph.D. doesn't help in this area at all. His research companions encourage him to try some of the modern inventions designed to bring the sexes together (somewhat like the particles in those atoms he studies). He tries a round of speed dating but with disatrous results. Accidentally he finds a woman and falls hard. Unfortunately, she's Danish and just as their romance starts to bubble, she has to return to her homeland. Not to be deterred, Gunnar maintains contact with her and even secures a position at a Danish university.

However, when he arrives in Denmark, the relationship has changed. Not only are his romantic hopes dashed, but he finds himself in a foreign land unable to communicate. But being the scientist he is, Gunnar is not one to let such experiences pass him by, and he begins to observe the events and people around him in an attempt to try to learn how he got himself in such a predictament and how he might improve his lot.

More catastrophes (big and little) occur before Gunnar manages to put his life together again. If this were simply a book about these life events, this probably wouldn't be much of a book, but as it's told through the eyes of this delightful, naive young physicist--we see a love story (actually several love stories) presented and dissected scientifically.

For me, the charm of the book were Gunnar's rambling mini-talks on all aspects of life, love and science. I especially loved his lecture for non-science majors and his address to the convention in Denmark. The writing is sharp and intelligent and the characters are unique. The sex scenes are probably a bit too graphic for me, but I like cozy mysteries, so that shouldn't deter too many readers.
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