Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward: Book Review
Love and Other Thought Experiments is one of the 2020 Booker Prize Longlisted books by seasoned actor and debut novelist, Sophie Ward. The book tells the story of a lesbian couple Eliza and Rachel, who one night, have a bit of a misunderstanding. Rachel feels that an ant has managed to get into her eye while Eliza, who is the more practical of the two, thinks that Rachel is making a mountain of a molehill. However, the sensation of the ant remains in the eye of Rachel, which is always refuted by Eliza. Until the day, they realize that Rachel has a tumour or cancer in that very same eye. I always follow the Booker Prize and read the Longlisted books. This is the first book that I read from the Longlisted Booker Prize books of 2020, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I usually buy the Hardback copies of the books from Amazon or the many bookstores in Mumbai, India. However, because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the problem with travel and Amazon shipping, I decided to buy the Kindle version. I hope to finish reading all the 2020 Booker Prize books if all goes well. To know more about my bookishly delicious life, you can read my memoir on Amazon titled Scenes of a Reclusive Writer and Reader of Mumbai.
I gave Love and Other Thought Experiments a 5-star rating on Goodreads. It deserved that rating for the unique way the novel was presented and how philosophy was intermingled with Eliza, Rachel, Arthur, Hal, Ali, Greg, and Elizabeth. Each chapter is related to a particular train of philosophical thought. As an ardent fan of philosophical books, I found the book very engaging and an excellent read for those who liked their books with fewer characters and quality content. I especially loved the character of Arthur. That does not mean I did not like the others; they all are excellently crafted. The characters vibe beautifully with each other through simple but profound dialogues. The characters have individual philosophical thoughts dedicated to them in each chapter. A briefing is given to the reader before each chapter, where the philosophy of the chapter is explained with a very apt quote. One can quickly identify the action or first-person monologues with philosophical thought.
It’s an exciting way of framing a story or, for that matter, a story within a story. It goes beyond time and tries to be experimental. Don’t worry about the philosophy part because it will be easy to understand, thanks to Ward’s carefully crafted words and sentences that hit home. There is no way you cannot come back from this book without feeling that you have just read something out of the ordinary. However, the book is not only about philosophy; it’s a suspenseful but very literary fiction-oriented book. I loved the latter part of the story when Arthur grows up and becomes a space astronaut in the year 2041. There are many dystopian and sci-fi elements in the latter part of the story that will interest many readers of those genres. The first person enthralled me (if you can call it that) dramatic monologues of first the ant in Rachel’s tumorous eye and then the OS (Operational System) called Zeus.
I will admit because I read a lot of heavy books on theology, philosophy, ethics, logic, and science, I found the book a very light read. It was such a light and easy read that despite my hectic teaching and writing schedule, I finished reading the book in three and a half days. I am aware that this will not be the case for mainly fiction readers, but I’m just here to say that you should read it. Try to understand the philosophical aspect being expressed in literary fiction, especially in the ant and Zeus’ dramatic monologues, and you’ll enjoy the read. Sophie Ward’s book is one of the finest books that I have read in the fiction genre this year, 2020. I know that every reader of good fiction will enjoy this book, and I highly recommend it. The ending of the book is beautiful. I’m so glad Arthur got to be in some sense of a parallel realm of existence to have a taste of both worlds – one with his ‘mum’ Eliza and one with his ‘mummy’ Rachel. For those of you who like me love reading heavy books on theology, ethics, logic, philosophy, et al., this book will be a breeze and will make you admire the sharp skill of Sophie Ward who in her debut novel itself has already made her name in fiction writing. Do get your copy of this book titled Love and Other Thought Experiments today.
I would like to be brazen and say the cliched sentence to ‘come and fall in love again’. Yes, I would like to say that, but don’t fall in love with your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband – but with good literature that keeps questioning conventionality and old-world rules that have no place in our current society. This is a LGBTQIA book, but the focus is on philosophy and the plot more than a definite LGBTQIA theme. Those of you who are LGBTQIA fans like me should not miss an opportunity to read this well-crafted and mouth-watering book.
It’s a tiny book, just around 272 pages and is a quick read. Read the book over the weekend when you are free to absorb the essence of the story and its role. Don’t read the book with a cluttered or an anxious mind; save the book when you are calmer and less stressed. Buy Love and Other Thought Experiments today on your Kindle. Kudos to Sophie Ward for winning me over with her very first book. I chose to read the book as it was an LGBTQIA literary fiction book, and I was surprised that that was not the only novelty of the book. If you want to read an LGBTQIA collection of reality-based short stories penned by me, then you can check my book of short stories on Amazon titled The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
I hope to read more of the 2020 Booker Prize Longlisted books in the coming days and review them for you on my blog. I’ve got them all except one, and I’ll God willing manage to get that by the end of this week. Good luck to Sophie Ward, where the 2020 Booker Prize shortlist is concerned. I shall share my thoughts on the Longlist and the Booker Prize with you soon.
If you are interested in book reviews, book analysis, short story analysis, poems, essays, and essay analysis, you can check my blog insaneowl.com. If you wish to purchase my books, you can check my website fizapathanpublishing.us or fizapathan.com. Happy reading to you this week!
Copyright © 2020 Fiza Pathan
Thank you for this thoughtful and beautiful review.
Thank you Ma’am. It is an honor for you to have read, appreciated, and acknowledged my review. I am praying that you come to the shortlist, because you write excellently. 🙂