Love and Other Thought Experiments

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Title: Love and Other Thought Experiments

Writer: Sophie Ward

Publishing House: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Date of Publication: September 28th 2021 (first published February 6th 2020)

Rating: 5 stars

‘’There is the physical knowledge of another person but can there be an understanding of what it is like to have their experience?’’

Eliza and Rachel are happily married, their antitheses complete each other and the plans for a child is well underway. But one moment changes everything. When Rachel is convinced that an ant has found its way into her brain, an uphill climb with uncertain results begins. Arthur, their brilliant son, will have to face a series of questions, losses, and changes. In a poignant series of stories-within-the story, we as readers will come to consider our identity, our personality and perception, our very own sense of existence.

‘’We have travelled. Ships we have made, from our bodies, and launched upon the oceans.’’

Sophie Ward has created one of the most interesting, innovative (allow me the use of the word), and exciting novels we’ll ever read. As you open this babushka, you’ll find each character of each story/chapter is connected to the next, with Eliza, Rachel and Arthur at the heart of the novel, And you will also find a rather peculiar character in a haunting, sad and extremely poignant chapter. Each part of this beautifully crafted story is developed on the basis of a famous philosophical experiment. Encountering quite a few shocking discoveries along the way, we’ll turn our eyes inside ourselves while thoughts will start haunting our minds.

‘’Humans like a little blood themselves. Blood pudding. Rare steak. Blood of your enemies, blood of your heroes. Transubstantiation. Delicious.’’

The belief in a kind of continuity and stability, the desire for a future ruled by safety and certainty (what a beautiful, absurd Utopia..), the institution of family, the ‘’rules’’ that permeate the fragile, most difficult and most precious relationship between parents and children, the need for privacy and the implications of secrecy. Misunderstandings, confusion, estrangement, loss and grief, the dubious gifts of Technology. In the end, we find ourselves in doubt and full of questions. What is genuine? What is a façade of what once was? How is History made? How can our lives be born, developed and ended because of an utterly arbitrary sequence of events? 

I was genuinely moved by this beautiful novel, especially by the story of Ali and Damon. In my opinion, Love and Other Thought Experiments should be regarded as one of the great works of our century. How did this marvel NOT win the Booker Prize? Yet again, why am I surprised…

‘’You do not know what gods know, you do not feel what we do not feel. That is just how it is. So I look for ways of communicating with you without making impossible demands. I am not a language to be learned or an animal to be understood. I am your creator. I am the singularity.’’

Many thanks to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.