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I find historical fiction difficult as I am always wondering what is true and what is made up. This work is even more challenging. The first mini biography is apparently mostly based on fact but as the book progresses fiction takes over as regards the lives of the scientists which makes me doubt the veracity of the simply described science too. The lives are described in very over-wrought language and far too dramatic for me. The Booker judges liked it because it apparently challenged what fiction is- but it does not challenge fiction for me, it just challenges the definitions of biography and fiction.
Intriguing book, but when reading on an older Kindle (4th generation) the end of the book will not download - however many times I try it and even though there is plenty of storage space available. Very frustrating!
I read this book after reading a glowing review in the New York Times. The review described the book as a "new" genre of fiction and fact, creatively combining both. It is in fact an attempt to combine fact with fiction. However, I believe it fails at both. Imagining the anecdotes and stories behind several great scientific discoveries of the 20th century is an interesting idea. However, Labatut's imagination failed to capture my interest. Mixing these imaginings with actual fact is immensely challenging and, again, Labatut falls short of making the fascinating story of the birth of quantum mechanics interesting. All in all, the book was a great disappointment.
As a scientist who barely understands physics, I so wanted to like this book. I like historical fiction when it either closely follows reality or admits that it is taking you on a flight of fancy. I think this book does both and have a hard time deciphering what is what. Obsessions with underage sick girls? Thugs in bars that force you to drink something? Give me a break.
This books starts out very interesting, but turns into something grotesque. Did I really need to read about the masturbation habits of Schrodinger? Of all the things to write about or read about, it begs one to wonder why the author would include these completely unnecessary details of someone's private life. It comes across as immature, sanctimonious criticism included for sole purpose of discrediting great men to the false justification of irrelevant research.