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The Stone Loves the World: Book summary and reviews of The Stone Loves the World by Brian Hall

The Stone Loves the World

by Brian Hall

The Stone Loves the World by Brian Hall X
The Stone Loves the World by Brian Hall
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  • Published Jun 2021
    464 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A warm, inventive, and multilayered novel about two families - one made up largely of scientists, and the other of artists and mystics - whose worlds collide in pursuit of a lost daughter.

Mette, a twenty-year old programmer of visual effects for video games, lives with her mother, Saskia, an aspiring playwright, in Brooklyn. Mette is a private and socially awkward young woman, who finds something consoling in repetitive mathematical calculations. But she has been recently rejected in love, and feels stuck in an endless loop, no longer certain of her place in the world.

As Brian Hall's new novel opens, Mette has gone missing. Her disappearance forces Saskia to reunite with Mette's father, Mark, an emotionally distant astronomy professor in Ithaca, to embark on a journey together to find her. Mette's path will take her across America and then to a fateful visit with her charismatic grandfather, Thomas, who formerly ran the commune north of Ithaca where Saskia was raised, and who now lives as a hermit in a windmill on a remote Danish island.

Playing out over nine decades and three generations, and stitching together a dazzling array of subjects—from cosmology and classical music to number theory and medieval mystery plays—The Stone Loves the World is a story of love, longing, and scientific wonder. It offers a moving reflection on the human search for truth, meaning, and connection in an often incomprehensible universe, and on the genuine surprises that the real world, and human society, can offer.

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Reviews

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"Hall returns to characters from The Saskiad in this strikingly original take on science, uncertainty, and the longing for connection to others and to the world...Hall takes a risk with sprawling, dense passages, and pulls it off by majestically drawing together the various threads of this consistently moving and entirely unconventional narrative. It's a stellar achievement." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Hall does an impressive job channeling his characters' intensely idiosyncratic personal monologues and their interests...And while the novel touches on an almost unwieldy array of themes, one constant throughout is the impossibility of exerting logic and control on a fundamentally unpredictable world. A valiant attempt to encapsulate life, the universe, and everything." - Kirkus Reviews

"An expansive story that explores love and humanity through the binary of arts and sciences...a lovely look at relationships and the different ways people see the world...The Stone Loves the World lays out the beautiful complexities of how generations can culminate in a person, as well as the strength and power of family even when you least expect it." - Harvard Crimson

"A brilliant, brainy book about physics, astronomy, video games and the American Century. Hall's intricate family saga charts vast social shifts even as it maps the emotional ups and downs of vivid individual lives. His characters' considerable smarts can't save them from the mess of their emotional mistakes, but how they deal, and how they heal, gives the novel its irresistible narrative power." - Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord

"In its patient, heartbreakingly comic evocation of loneliness across several generations, The Stone Loves the World recalls no novel so much as The Corrections. Jam-packed with Boomer iconography and scientific arcana, this long-awaited new novel shows off Brian Hall's immense talents. A deep and moving portrait of an unforgettable, very American family." - Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone and Henry, Himself

This information about The Stone Loves the World was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Brian Hall Author Biography

Photo: Madeleine Moss

Brian Hall grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and attended Harvard College. After getting his bachelor's degree in English in 1981, he ran away for two years, bicycling and camping in western and eastern Europe. On his return, he wrote his first book, Stealing from a Deep Place: Travels in Southeastern Europe. Seven books have followed, five of them novels. He worked freelance as a journalist for a short time, writing for Travel-Holiday, the New York Times Magazine, and the New Yorker. He teaches at Colgate University and lives in Ithaca, New York.

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