Rated of 5
by Emily Homage to Tesla perfect for the silver screen
This is the first book that I've been tempted to review for BookBrowse.com. The book concerns the life of one of my favorite historical figures. It is rumored that Nikola Tesla developed his inventions, including the polyphase ac generators, as a synasthete would, by seeing the finished machinery working in a vision as the inception or the impetus for his analytical process of invention. This book reads as if it were originally conceived as a fully finished film. The chapters are all composed as dramatic acts of a stage play. Each progression in the book is perfectly separated from the rest by a change in scene, set-up of character, and a preamble literary quote perfectly capturing the theme of the coming chapter. The book touches on events that transpire over the 86 years of Tesla's life. The presence of the other characters in the story, along with the omissions of several key background events and other information, enforce the message that the book is written to deter people from becoming so focused on single loves or inventions that they let those inventions occlude their vision. I could almost hear the author whisper gently that it is the passionate, the single-minded who perish, while it is those who can handle loss who will progress to see the invention of everything else.
Rated of 5
by Robin Interesting Presentation, but Plotless
First off, I loved the way this book was presented. The report-style format was very inventive (pun intended) and creative - not many publishers put that much thought into Advanced Reader's Copies- kudos for that. As for the content of the book, I wasn't overly impressed. I was attracted to the historical fiction category it was described as, but generally I found the book lacked a strong plot. I did enjoy learning more about Tesla, but without much of a plot, I felt like it plodded along.
Rated of 5
by Betsey Lyrical, lovely, ethereal
Samantha Hunt's novel is a "what if" historical fiction on the last months of the life of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current electricity. His life was much obscured by the better known Thomas Edison; however, as this book well illuminates, Edison was more rigid, capitalistic, and less visionary than Tesla.
This book is allegorical and metaphorical. Although we learn about Tesla's Serbian roots, his boyhood, and the inner workings of his great mind, Hunt shines even more light on his heart. She does this with aspects of time travel, with his relationship with pigeons, and a fictional relationship with an astute and intelligent chambermaid at the Hotel New Yorker, where he lives the last years of his life.
There is much inner dialogue from the main characters of the story, which makes it a more character-driven than a plot driven read. There is definitely a plot, and suspense, but the texture of the tale and the beautiful turns of phrase and imagery stay with you long after the story ends. Hunt weaves in concepts of psychology, philosophy, and literature, giving the story many dynamic layers. This novel is a novel of ideas as much as it is a fictional biography on the life of a genius. I wanted to ask the author if she had read "Hopeful Monsters," by Nicholas Mosley, as there are strong parallels about the elusiveness of time and the enigma of the human heart, as well as specific references to Goethe. Additionally, both authors are exceptionally open and generous writers and do not borrow from religion in order to hold high values and ethics. I look forward to Samantha Hunt's next novel.
Rated of 5
by Juliet The Invention of Everything Else
In The Invention of Everything Else, Samantha Hunt skillfully evokes the world of New York city in the beginning of 1943. She captures the feel of an era where nothing seems impossible; the miraculous inventions which transformed American culture almost overnight gave rise to a collective suspension of disbelief, as exemplified by the national response to the radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds." The discoveries of electricity, magnetism, and radio play directly into to the lives of Louisa, a maid at the Hotel New Yorker, and her widowed father.
As the characters struggle with loss and love, their paths circle around the figure of Nikola Tesla, living out his last years in the hotel where Louisa works. His part of the story is written in first person, while he is consumed by memories of his past as well as by his constant pursuit of knowledge and invention. The parts of the story which incorporate the true details of his life are riveting, but the individual stories of each character are held together more by abstract ideas than by the plot itself. In the end, one is left with a palpable sense of the era, where (heartbreakingly) the possibilities of science seem endless, and how that plays into the inner lives of the people of the time.
Rated of 5
by Stephanie Chance Extraordinary!
This book is full of eccentric, interesting characters. A little bit of history, a little bit of fantasy and time travel... It reminded me a little of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife in that you have to suspend your disbelief, but it is ultimately rewarding. The thing I love most about this book is that it sparks my interest in learning something new. I had no idea who Nikola Tesla was before I read this, but now I am glad that I do know about him and his contributions to society. I particularly enjoyed the theme of conflict between invention for invention's sake and invention for fame. Thomas Edison as foil for Tesla in this regard was a surprising and thought provoking element. I definitely recommend this book to any reading group whose members like to be challenged.
Rated of 5
by Cathy Not bad, not great
It was hard to believe that the inventor in this book was actually a real person. The author could have been more clear and developed her characters better. The ideas she touches on were good ones...loneliness and confusion in all individuals, not just the aged. It's a subject that everyone has to deal with in real life. It would be a good book for a book club, they could touch on the subjects of age (young and old), loneliness, confusion, and how these individuals dealt with those issues. I liked the ending, it seemed to really come together and explained a lot of what I needed to put it all together.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...