Kerfe's Reviews > 42

42 by M. Thomas Cooper
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's review
Nov 09, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in October, 2008

The narrator is well along into his alternate universe when he overhears a conversation about "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and grasps at "the answer to life the universe and everything"--42. His circuitous retreat from reality becomes focused on numbers and number patterns as a way to regain all that has disappeared--including his own identity: "Hopefully some pattern will be discernable."

What happened to his wife and daughter? What about the dog and cat? Is he a passive victim or a monster with amnesia? Where does his guilt end? or start? all is uncertain and unclear.

His world shrinks until it contains only his continuously recycled inner dialogue and his numericanl search for what he has lost.

I'm still undecided about the Epilogue--in some ways it detracts, in some ways it adds. What it doesn't do is give "the answer"--truth, lies, neither, both?--to the narrator's story. It doesn't make any sense, but it could be true. Or it could just be a story.

But you think this stuff only happens in book? Maybe that's the best we can hope for as an explantion to lives carried forward on waves of circumstances beyond our control. "42" sums it up just about as well as anything else.

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