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Hopeful Monsters (1990)

af Nicholas Mosley

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
410847,753 (3.85)13
-- A sweeping, comprehensive epic, Hopeful Monsters tells the story of the love affair between Max, an English student of physics and biology, and Eleanor, a German Jewess and political radical. Together and apart, Max and Eleanor participate in the great political and intellectual movements which shape the twentieth century, taking them from Cambridge and Berlin to the Spanish Civil War, Russia, the Sahara, and finally to Los Alamos to witness the first nuclear test. -- Hopeful Monsters received Britain's prestigious Whitbread Award in 1990. -- Praising Mosley's ability to distill complex modes of thought, the New York Times called Hopeful Monsters a virtual encyclopedia of twentieth century thought, in fictional form. -- First U.S. edition by Dalkey Archive ('90), most recent paperback by Vintage ('93).… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
Idea novels or conceptual novels are seldom literary gems. That is certainly the case with this book. Mosley has been smart enough to process a nice love story in his book, and at the same time evoke dramatic historic periods (especially the rise of Nazism and the Second World War). The passages that revolve around these themes are the easiest to read. But Mosley has given priority to the ideas and concepts, not to the story. Sometimes this is to be taken literally: the book contains numerous discussions about the major 20th Century developments in physics (relativity theory, quantum theory, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, etc.), biology (Darwinists versus Lamarckians and the genetic debate), psychology (the wars between different psychoanalysis schools), philosophy (Heidegger, Wittgenstein), the ideological (of course especially fascism and communism), etc. Ingenious and erudite, that is the least you can say.

But the uniqueness of this book is that Mosley illustrates all these perspectives by means of his concrete characters and what they experience or do: they constantly function in one of the above-mentioned scientific debates (for example, as particles that attract or repel each other, or who function as matter or wave according to the observer's point of view) and he constantly lets those characters, while they say or do certain things at the same time think of the underlying scientific-philosophical issues in themselves; and on top of that, Mosley again and again underlines the ethical implications of these ideas and actions. That gives a certain artificial character to the 'dramatis personae' (they literally seem to be actors who create their role and also undergo him at the same time). It takes quite some patience and attention to follow all this, and it makes the reading of this book utterly intriguing and difficult at the same time. Hence the very different reviews by the readers of this book, from wildly enthusiastic to absolutely horrified, and hardly anything in between. In the unlikely hope of being original, I opt for the ambiguous middle-opinion: this book is an incredible achievement of Mosley, but it is not a successful piece of fiction. ( )
  bookomaniac | Feb 19, 2018 |
An eloquent and complex novel of ideas - I remember finding this stimulating and enjoyable but would need to read it again to review it properly. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 4, 2014 |
A fascinating novel of ideas, depicting the early lives of two characters, Max and Eleanor, in an almost epistolatory style, with each of them narrating alternate chapters, addressing the other as "you." The story takes place in Europe in the 1930s, a time of unrest (Nazi Germany, the development of the atomic bomb, the Spanish Civil War). Max and Eleanor make their way as best they can, exploring ideas and nurturing their love. The ideas are the main focus of the novel and it is through their ideas that the characters are built up and explored. This is not a novel for someone looking for a love story. I suspect that in order to like this novel, one must like ideas as much as one likes characters. Several times I put the book down to contemplate the ideas the book explores, not because it was difficult to understand, but because the ideas were so fascinating I wanted to give them room to breathe. ( )
  anneearney | Mar 31, 2013 |
First book I finished this year, and it really has taken me two years or so to get through it. There's nothing wrong with the book - it's amazing and I highly recommend it - it just requires a certain commitment and dedication on the reader's part. It isn't that it's a hard read. Maybe a bit like reading philosophy. Well, it is, I suppose. This book needs the right kind of readers, though, if that makes sense, so not everyone should expect to like it. At times, it's as if someone had an unbound textbook and an unbound novel and dropped them on the floor, not bothering to sort them after, and just publishing the juxtaposition together. And yet the writing somehow carries it all.
  taperry | Mar 9, 2009 |
I have tried, and tried, and tried, and tried to read and like this book. I can't; I hate it. I like the premise - organisms born a bit before their time which will succeed or fail, but don't, as they live, know whether they are monsters. I can't get by the artificial style.
My father said '----'
My mother said '----'
I thought - -----

or even worse,

I said '---'
I thought - ----

I guess I'll try again some day, but not this one.
  LizzieD | Jan 27, 2009 |
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-- A sweeping, comprehensive epic, Hopeful Monsters tells the story of the love affair between Max, an English student of physics and biology, and Eleanor, a German Jewess and political radical. Together and apart, Max and Eleanor participate in the great political and intellectual movements which shape the twentieth century, taking them from Cambridge and Berlin to the Spanish Civil War, Russia, the Sahara, and finally to Los Alamos to witness the first nuclear test. -- Hopeful Monsters received Britain's prestigious Whitbread Award in 1990. -- Praising Mosley's ability to distill complex modes of thought, the New York Times called Hopeful Monsters a virtual encyclopedia of twentieth century thought, in fictional form. -- First U.S. edition by Dalkey Archive ('90), most recent paperback by Vintage ('93).

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