Nothing Like Einstein

James Morrow reviews Tim Powers’ latest in BookWorld, and he starts things off talking about one of my favorite short stories:

In 1990, Karen Joy Fowler published "Lieserl," a piquant and moving tribute to Albert Einstein’s daughter, a woman largely neglected by history and, sad to say, the great scientist himself. As the story unfolds, the young Einstein, ensconced in a space-time bubble, receives a series of letters from his first wife, Mileva Maric, recounting Lieserl’s birth, preschool years, adolescence and death. In the final scene, a quiet indictment of Einstein’s passive parenting, the scientist imagines sketching a valentine and then writing his daughter’s name within its borders: "He loved Lieserl. He cut the word in half, down the S with the stroke of his nail. The two halves of the heart opened and closed, beating against each other, faster and faster, like wings, until they split apart and vanished from his mind."

"Lieserl" is a tough act to follow, but in Three Days to Never Tim Powers has done so with brio, bravado and a salutary measure of lunacy.

Anyone read it yet? (Mr. McLaren?) Sounds like one for the TBR.

3 thoughts on “Nothing Like Einstein”

  1. I’ve read it, and it’s good. (I don’t think it’s his *best* book, but it’s in the upper echelons.) It has the Mossad! The Baphomet Head! Time Travel! Charlie Chaplin! Etc.!

  2. I did, in fact, read it–I got the Subterranean edition a while back, so I had some lead time.
    I agree with the other Tim P. above: it’s not his best book, but it’s in the top few for sure. And with Powers, that’s saying something–even the ones I’d rate at the bottom of his list are pretty damn good.

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