A strange way to do a character study, with nested storylines and all sorts of theoretical physics. Probably a polarising book.
|Joshua V. Scher in 2015|
I have to say, it’s hard to have a definition of greatness when it comes to reading a book. Sometimes, I’m puzzled as to why people do it. You just sit there, staring at print. But it’s that imagination and communication from author to reader that’s just somehow so magical. And in the case of Here & There, the imagination and communication is awkwardly awesome. What do I mean?
Here & There starts of with a spot of intrigue. You’re reading something that’s quite different. It’s the notes of a Dr. Hilary Kahn, an expert psychiatrist who’s gone missing. These notes are annotated by her son Danny, who found these documents some time after her disappearance, which he thinks was related to a top secret government experiment gone wrong.
Inside these notes, apart from Danny’s scribblings are clues and facts about the Reidier Experiment, which resulted in an enormous explosion that was kept well out of the public view by the US government.
Now I will admit, the style and the nested nature of this book will probably infuriate a lot of people. I know it infuriated me for the first third or so of the story when was Danny constantly interrupting the story with his notes, and it actually makes it harder to read.
But it gets better, if you’re able to resist the urge to ignore Danny’s ramblings, which can safely be ignored. His fate doesn’t actually make an iota of difference to the outcome of the book, and I frankly couldn’t care less about his character.
No, the people you will care about is Reidier and his family, and with all the strange stuff that happens to them. That’s because Reidier is a revolutionary scientist who messes with teleportation, amongst other things, and he actually goes into great detail in his work. Irrespective of whether the science is even remotely accurate, you have to hand it to Joshua Scher here, because he nailed this part of the story.
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I cared about the characters of Reidier, his wife Eve and the twins Ecco and Otto and their lives in the end. Because the book is ultimately about them and what happened to them in the experiment.
Here & There is hard to read. If you want something that flows well and doesn’t force you to compile a complex spreadsheet during your read, you should not pick this up. It will frustrate you, and it will spit you out in the middle of it. But if you’re willing to stick with its complexities and idiosyncrasies, you’ll end up enjoying it too.
As thrilling as a book on quantum mechanics can get. With a dash of philosophy thrown in.
Read this if you…
Like books with as many layers as an onion.
Skip this if you…
Prefer your books to be unsophisticated. Like a potato.