Schopenhauer's Telescope: A Novel
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The haunting novel Schopenhauer's Telescope ...[is] one of the most unusual novels of the year...The effect is pulse-quickening and horrific, as though we've been force marched through a theme park of grotesque monsters.- Newsday . In an unnamed European village, in the middle of a civil war, one man digs while another watches over him. Slowly, they begin to talk. Over the course of the afternoon, as the snow falls and truckloads of villagers are corralled in the next field, we discover why they are there--not just who they are but also how sinister events in the country have led them to be separated by a deepening grave, and why the history of civilization is inseparable from the history of mass violence. Beautifully written, with a poet's eye for detail coupled with a chilling and compelling narrative drive, Schopenhauer's Telescope is current in the best sense--no thin allegory of today's conflicts, but a remarkable attempt to make art out of the brutality of life.
a fly behind a curtain. ‘The Lord God. Forty minutes of gunfire and hand-to-hand fighting. Can you imagine it?’ His voice shook, probably from the cold. ‘They found some of the women two miles away. They found a child sucking its mother’s breast.’ I said, ‘They started it. Who started it? They did. With the dancing and the general threats. Threatening everyone with Jesus. The officers liked the Indians, I heard. I’ve read that no one planned this. A gun went off and the Indian nations died.’
maintained that the master could only appear on a mountain, but since there wasn’t one, they’d have to wait until one formed. ‘The third group refused to go along with either of the first two. A mountain? No! Only a statue. ‘From that split came another split, and from that split a splinter group left to find the master. And they left, rebuking the addressors of dung, the statue seekers, and the burners.’ ‘Rebuking?’ asked the child. ‘Correcting. Anyway, things got worse. Some couldn’t decide
time and space change at close to light speed: distance stretches, time passes more slowly than normal time. Black holes are an example of gravity from which nothing, including light, can escape. When gravity is too strong to support even itself, it collapses in on itself and drags after it every atom of matter within a huge radius, like Cygnus X-1, a black hole thirty times bigger than the sun. Inside? Other universes, stacked one inside the other, like Russian dolls? A different kind of matter?
free experience. I will never forget the moment I found John Donne’s poem The Good Morrow, where he wakes with his lover and realizes that a whole world has opened up to him: ‘For love, all love of other sights controls And makes one little room an everywhere. ‘Or the verse from his “Nocturnal on St Lucy’s Day”, the shortest day, when his love and he made up the entire universe: ‘Oft a flood have we two wept, and so Drown’d the whole world, us two. ‘I consulted The Book of Good Love by Juan
a huge decision. I decided that I no longer knew nothing about anything; on the contrary, I resolved to use other words to describe my knowledge: maybe, perhaps, sometimes. I read that very smart people preferred those words. So I used them. I now thought that maybe I was the only one in town unloved by women. That maybe those boys laughed at me. That perhaps fate had left me to discover my own devices at school and at home, left me to discover like a loose cub in the wild how indifferent the