Wittgenstein Jr: Book summary and reviews of Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer

Wittgenstein Jr

by Lars Iyer

Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2014
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    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The unruly undergraduates at Cambridge have a nickname for their new lecturer: Wittgenstein Jr. He's a melancholic, tormented genius who seems determined to make them grasp the very essence of philosophical thought.

But Peters - a working-class student surprised to find himself among the elite - soon discovers that there's no place for logic in a Cambridge overrun by posh boys and picnicking tourists, as England's greatest university is collapsing under market pressures.

Such a place calls for a derangement of the senses, best achieved by lethal homemade cocktails consumed on Cambridge rooftops, where Peters joins his fellows as they attempt to forget about the void awaiting them after graduation, challenge one another to think so hard they die, and dream about impressing Wittgenstein Jr with one single, noble thought.

And as they scramble to discover what, indeed, they have to gain from the experience, they realize that their teacher is struggling to survive. For Peters, it leads to a surprising turn - and for all of them, a challenge to see how the life of the mind can play out in harsh but hopeful reality.

Combining his trademark wit and sharp brilliance, Wittgenstein Jr is Lars Iyer's most assured and ambitious novel yet - as impressive, inventive and entertaining as it is extraordinarily stirring.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Iyer already has a reputation for combining brainy dialogue with madcap action, but the triumph of his latest (and best) novel is that the cartoon turns out to have real substance." - Publishers Weekly

"A droll love story... Existential angst is rarely this entertaining." - Kirkus

"Wittgenstein, Jr. compacts Iyer's concerns into a single campus novel, set at early 21st-century Cambridge. It should serve as an ideal introduction to his work." - The Millions, Most Anticipated Books for the second half of 2014

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Lars Iyer is the author of the novel Wittgenstein Jr, to be published in September 2014. He has also written a trilogy of novels, Spurious, Dogma and Exodus, which has received rave reviews in nearly all major literary publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Spectator and The Believer.

Spurious won 3:AM's 'Best novel of 2011' award, was a finalist for the Guardian Not-the-Booker Award, and was shortlisted for The Believer award. Dogma was listed as one of the Observer's Books of the Year. Exodus was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Literary Award, and was listed as one of the Observer's books of the year.

Lars Iyer has also written two scholarly books on the work of Maurice Blanchot, and teaches philosophy at Newcastle University, UK.

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