The Invention of Everything Else: Book summary and reviews of The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

The Invention of Everything Else

By Samantha Hunt

The Invention of Everything Else

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About this book

Book Summary

A wondrous imagining of an unlikely friendship between the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla and a young chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker where Tesla lives out his last days.

From the moment she first catches sight of the Hotel New Yorker’s most famous resident on New Year’s Day 1943, Louisa -- obsessed with radio dramas and the secret lives of the guests -- is determined to befriend this strange man. As Louisa discovers their shared affinity for pigeons, she also begins to piece together Tesla’s extraordinary story of life as an immigrant, a genius, and a halfhearted capitalist. Meanwhile, Louisa—faced with her father’s imminent departure in a time machine to reunite with his late wife, and pleasantly unsettled by the arrival in her life of a mysterious mechanic (perhaps from the future) named Arthur -- begins to suspect that she has understood something about the relationship of love and invention that Tesla, for all his brilliance, never did.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Hunt (The Seas) delivers a breathtaking novel that is both difficult to classify and impossible to ignore ..... Peppered with literary quotations, historical figures, and subtle eroticism, this book will please readers who enjoy experimentation and uncertainty in both their fiction choices and their worldview." - Library Journal.

"Each individual plot thread has potential, but the cumulative effect is dulled by an unwieldy structure." - Publishers Weekly.

"A bold but failed attempt to combine magic realism and intellectual fiction." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cheri
The Invention of Everything
Magical. The words,the actions, the emotions, transforms you into the author's world in a blink of an eye. And what a world it is...the characters are well written and the story catches you from the first word and keeps you hanging until the last. I read this book as I traveled on my treadmill (it is a blustery Minnesota winter) and ended up walking further then usual in order to finish the book and figure out the mysteries. Thank you for the opportunity to read something I might otherwise have passed up in the store. It was well worth it.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Barbara
The Invention of Everything Else
If you are looking for a quick light read for an airplane, this is not the book to grab. I am a big fan of non-horror science-fiction and that is what kept me engaged enough to finish the book. I found the storyline in the beginning to be confusing at times, but by the mid-point the characters became more defined and the various threads began to seem more orderly and understandable. The book requires you ask questions about what you know and what you think you know - and in the end leaves you with many unanswered questions, but perhaps that was the point all along. Book Clubs should be cautious in choosing this book, as it may cause more frustration than discussion.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Judith
Buy this Book!
I absolutely loved this book!

Whether you are a Tesla fan or know nothing at all about the man, you will love this book too. I found the characters well developed and interesting. The story was thought provoking and fascinating although it does move slowly in the beginning. Hunt's description of flight (literally) pulls the reader into weightlessness.

I will forever be curious about pigeons and electricity.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by jeana
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunter
This is a book filled with luminance, suspense and mystery. In the first few chapters the mystery deepens because we are never quite sure who is who, or where, or when. As we travel with the author we begin to understand that we must always ask, who is who, and where, and when? Hunt leads us through theories of time travel, energy amplification and electricity, blending the ideas and theories of the great, unsung scientific genius of our times, Nikola Tesla, with ideas that remind us more of H.G. Wells’s fiction. In fact, Wells is obliquely referred to via reference to Orson Welles’s famous radio broadcast of the 1930’s and the appearance of a machine for time travel.

Two editorial decisions make the book more difficult to follow than it needs to be: first, a lack of footnotes and attributions will confound readers unfamiliar with Tesla’s accomplishments; and second, the creation of fictional characters who play the roles of real-life individuals causes us to wonder why they have been singled out for anonymity, especially considering the large cast of historical figures.

On the delightful side, the author’s writing style is charming, with many turns of phrase for readers to savor, such as “living as they do on the opposite ends of the sunlight” to describe a father and daughter who work night and day shifts, respectively. Or, near the end of the book, a memory of “a day, years ago now, when I’d asked him what the word ‘scintillating’ meant. He hadn’t quite known the answer, so between the two of us, we made a decision. From then on ‘scintillating’ would be used to describe those moments when the right word just can’t be found.”

This book is a scintillating read.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Susan
Not What I Expected
This book was not what I expected. I hoped to learn more about Tesla than I did. I felt like I was reading a series of short stories, rather than a novel. It did prompt me to do some research on things that were mentioned, so that was good. I would not recommend this book to others - I found the characters rather strange, but maybe geniuses are that way.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Cynthia
The Invention of Everything Else
Samantha Hunt uses her characters to bring the invisible world before us to examine - you may never look at a speck of dust quite the same! Though the book is steeped in science, it does not overwhelm the reader with minutiae - the writing style is wonderfully enriched. As the characters tinker with time so then, does the author - she walks you through the grandeur of the Hotel New Yorker and the streets of mid-twentieth century Hell's Kitchen in such beautiful detail that the imagery is complete in your mind.

...6 more reader reviews

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