Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Moibus strip of life

Book: Schrodinger’s Ball
Author: Adam Felber
Published: 2006 (Random House)
Pages: 241

If a young man accidentally shoots and kills himself while cleaning his dad’s old gun in his grandma’s basement with the door closed and no one else to find him, is he actually dead?
Or does he still go out on the town with his group of friends, feeling and acting even more spacey than usual as they all seize onto his weirdness as an excuse to fend off the unraveling of bonds they all feel between each other?

This book’s title might clue you in on the answer, which is both, and all of the below.
Does the young man only truly die when his grandma opens the basement door a few days later at the exact instance the young man throws himself in front of his friends to prevent them from getting squashed by a giant 18-wheeler? Yes.

Theoretical physics mixes really well with the absurdity of the human condition, especially when it’s applied lightly and with the cynical armor of post-grad oh-god-what-are-we-doing-with-our-lives-and-each-other sarcasm.

The story does not make a hell of a lot of sense, especially the bits where a collective voice talks about how the real (but somehow still dead) Dr. Schrodinger butts into and invades their real life, only to gradually reveal that part as the hallucinations of a single, modern-day science lecturer who’s having a really hard time getting over the loss of his wife. This, and the parts of the philosophizing bag lady’s revisionist history of the world, are revealingly funny, but they only trickle into the main flow and only make it, like, a bigger stream, not a lake or something.

But then, the parts of an atom are a gajillion measuring units apart and look how well they hold everything together. So this was a good read, and I will be giving it back to the library’s bookshelf because guys, I walked through the stacks instead of the staff exit a week or so ago and that gets me every time. 

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