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Love and Other Thought Experiments: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

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And through all these the book asks: who are we; what does it mean to experience the world; how can we really know other people or even really know ourselves and our own reality. I do like very basic/unexplored LGBTQ+ rep on principle because it feels authentic to have all kinds of people inhabiting a story even if they aren’t always at the center, but in this case Ward’s LGBTQ+ characters are at the center and still so little is done with them. It is an act of such breath-taking imagination, daring and detail that the journey we are on is believable and the debate in the mind non-stop.

However, this novel revealed itself to actually be an unpleasant smorgasbord of several wildly different texts it was trying to be. However, this quote does highlight one aspect of the novel, a very human story of a non-traditional extended family and of childhood bereavement (Rachel has a child Arthur via IUI with one of her and Eliza’s friend, himself in a same-sex relationship, leaving Arthur, whose quote this was, with one mother and two fathers after Rachel’s death), and indeed in the early chapters it appears a well-written but relatively normal story in this vein. In some ways this was better than I expected it to be, in other ways it did not live up to expectations- a mixed bag. The forking paths reminded me of Borges’ El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan, and the novel as a whole has some similarities. I think the main reason I enjoyed reading this book is the way it keeps you on your toes all the way through.The prose that was of a higher calibre was in the last half of the book, where we hear from an ant and there's a big, unexpected switch to sci-fi. In the book, two women are knocked off balance when their plans to have a baby together become entangled with an ant incident; the same day they decide to go ahead with the pregnancy, Rachel wakes in the night in a panic, convinced an ant has crawled into her eye. I think part of the problem may have been my reading mood and not getting caught-up by the story meant I didn’t read it in a few days; putting it aside made the flow (which is hard to pick up anyway) vanish completely.

My Dark Vanessa is the one with the poet I mentioned; of course that book is about consent, but much of the story does revolve around the classes and teachers involved in the MC’s studies.That said, the chapter itself was interesting in presenting different consequences of one boy’s dilemmas in general, which will be weaved seamlessly into later chapters.

Each chapter fits through a philosophical thought experiment which adds a whole new dimension and diversity. Even then, the way this book is written, it's premise and it's style are so clever, thought out and we l written. Set in the future and firmly in the genre of Sci-fi, this is where all the previous chapters connect.

Also, while I am not familiar with most experimental philosophy and it was interesting to learn about many ideas through this novel, there was one thought experiment drawn from game theory that I was familiar with, The Prisoner’s Dilemma (ch. The result: Something akin to a series of writing exercises, jampacked with interesting ideas that never fully converge. One of the consequences of the nadir of the Booker Prize, the 2011 ‘Zipalongability’ list, was the creation of the Goldsmiths Prize, by Goldsmiths University, “established in 2013, to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form.

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