978-0-385-48517-3 / 9780385485173

As She Climbed Across the Table





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About the book:

When is the absurd not absurd? When the story is chronicled by Jonathan Lethem. In As She Climbed Across the Table, Lethem again manages to take the strangest of set-ups and make them seem commonplace--so much so that, despite the high concepts (Motherless Brooklyn was about a Tourettes-suffering gangster/private eye and Girl in Landscape was a sci-fi coming-of-age story), his books are masterpieces of human characterisation..

The (ostensible) premise of As She Climbed Across the Table concerns the discovery of a hole in the universe by Professor Alice Coombs, and the effect of the discovery on the campus on which she works. A physicist, Coombs and her department create a hole in the universe--a hole that is defined by its complete lack of tangible qualities. As she and her department explore their discovery, they anthropomorphitise it: Alice comes to ascribe a personality to "Lack"; it is this relationship and the effect it has on Coombs' partner, Philip Engstrand (a sociologist who studies the community of academics around him), that the book revolves around. Told from Engstrand's point of view, it is a fantastic tale told without wonder--think Don DeLillo, especially White Noise, another tale of the everyday absurd set on a college campus--and it's all the richer for it. --Randy Silver

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