A Doubter's Almanac

A Doubter's Almanac

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"In this mesmerizing novel, Ethan Canin, the New York Times bestselling author of America America and The Palace Thief, explores the nature of genius, rivalry, ambition, and love among multiple generations of a gifted family. Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there--and the rival he meets alongside her--will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence. Spanning seven decades as it moves from California to Princeton to the Midwest to New York, A Doubter’s Almanac tells the story of a family as it explores the way ambition lives alongside destructiveness, obsession alongside torment, love alongside grief. It is a story of how the flame of genius both lights and scorches every generation it touches. Graced by stunning prose and brilliant storytelling, A Doubter’s Almanac is a surprising, suspenseful, and deeply moving novel, a major work by a writer who has been hailed as 'the most mature and accomplished novelist of his generation.'"--From publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2016]
Edition: 1st ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION CAN
Characteristics: xi, 558 p. ; 25 cm

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Randomatic
Sep 07, 2017

Dreadfully boring, inconsistently paced, needlessly long. The story could be conveyed in less than half the length and save the reader a lot of agony. The protagonist is intensely unlikable, and reading about his foibles is painful. The rest of the characters are flat and, because of the protagonist's personality, utterly extraneous. When I finally managed to slog to the end, I felt like the time I spent reading this could have been better spent watching grass grow.

JCLCherylMY Mar 26, 2016

What does it mean to be a mathematical genius? Gifted so beyond the average person that navigating the everyday world takes on monumental proportions? Milo Andret is one such person and his journey and that of his family and his children's subsequent families are the focus of this lengthy literary novel. It left me contemplating how to balance the light and dark sides of our human gifts, genius or not. Well worth reading.

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