Judy's Reviews > Einstein's Dreams

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 20th-century-fiction, novels-about-science
Read in April, 2012 , read count: 1

What an unusual little book. It is called a novel but it has no story. Albert Einstein works as a patent clerk in Switzerland. All we are told is that he is a young man about to mail a copy of his new theory of time to a German journal of physics, that he is married but neglects his wife, and that he is near the Aare River.

From that point on each short chapter is an example of what life would be like under different theories of what time is and how it works. These vignettes are like dreams. The title suggests they are Einstein's dreams.

I don't know much about Einstein except that he invented the Theory of Relativity. I don't know as much as I would like to about Time, except that it has always bothered me to live life ruled by clocks and schedules. I once tried to read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking but did not get very far.

I don't think I have a scientific mind. My husband is sure I don't but that he does. My father tried to help me learn science and I am still learning. Sometimes I am suspicious that science is a trick men use to make women feel weak and small.

I liked Alan Lightman's dreams. He may have called them Einstein's; it may be that theories are dreams. All I know is that an hour or two of reading these dreams about time chilled me out more than anything I have read recently.
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02/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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K.D. Absolutely Sometimes I am suspicious that science is a trick men use to make women feel weak and small.

You're kidding, Judy? :)

Judy Not really. Maybe I just ran into some particularly chauvinist science guys.

Cecily If you're tempted to dip your toe in Italo Calvino, you may want to compare this with Invisible Cities.

Judy He is on the list. Just have not got to him yet.

Cecily I've only read a couple of Calvinos, both in 2015, and they were very different, but I will read more. Invisible Cities is quite like this. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is brilliant, but far more complex.

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