With echoes of Calvino, Rushdie, and Saramago, this is a stunningly imaginative work that celebrates the tragic and joyous nature of existence on the grandest possible scale.
“As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.” So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr. g, the story of Creation as narrated by God. Bored with living in the shimmering Void with his bickering Uncle Deva and Aunt Penelope, Mr. g creates time, space, and matter - then moves on to stars, planets, consciousness, and finally intelligent beings with moral dilemmas.
But even the best-laid plans can go awry, and Mr. g discovers that with his creation of space and time come unforeseen consequences - especially in the form of the mysterious Belhor, a clever and devious rival. An intellectual equal to Mr. g, Belhor delights in provocation: he demands an explanation for the inexplicable, requests that intelligent creatures not be subject to rational laws, and maintains the necessity of evil. As Mr. g watches his favorite universe grow into maturity, he begins to understand how the act of creation can change the Creator himself.
©2012 Alan Lightman (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Here is the creation of the universe and the young creator who grapples with what he has made - and ultimately with responsibility and loss…A gem of a novel that is strange, witty, erudite, and alive with Lightman’s playful genius.” (Junot Díaz, New York Times best-selling author)
This brief novel defies categorization. Drawing on philosophy, religion and mythology on the one hand and quantum mechanics, relativity, organic chemistry, evolution and astrophysics, on the other, it is the story of a universe (maybe ours?) and its creator.
The character of the creator (the Mr g of the title) recalls the demiurge creator god of gnosticism, a being who is enthralled, troubled and transformed by his creation. Satan and his minions (under the names of Belhor and Baphomet(s)) are also present with the interactions between Mr g and Belhor being reminiscent of that between the Accuser and God in the Bible's Book of Job.
The author creatively, often amusingly, addresses such diverse topics as the existence of time, matter, energy, consciousness, free will and sin. My only negative comment is that the book's conceit can grow a bit tedious at times and leaves several of its topics dangling, although I suppose the latter is intentional. The skillful narration adds wonderfully to the characterization of each of the book's figures. Overall I recommend Mr g as a worthwhile and thought-provoking listen.
I was rather disappointed in this book. The concept seems to be the creation of the universe - though not necessarily ours - by a creator. It is written in what I'd consider a simplistic style, and to my mind was designed to possibly reconcile the controversy between creationism and evolution. It allows for both, but it doesn't work for me.
I found too many internal inconsistencies that wore on me. Maybe I'm just too analytical, but without time, I have to wonder how there ccould be "elders." Without substance, I have to wonder how once matter is created, it can be used by the inhabitants of "the void," where nothing actually exists. Yet those inhabitants are able to see and hear and interact with the other inhabitants of the void (then maybe it's NOT a void, because discrete beings DO inhabit it), as well as solid matter.
I didn't like the folksy interaction of inhabitants of the void, and found the dialog childish and tedious. And the repetitive counting of time got pretty old and very annoying pretty fast for me.
There was only one short segment of the book where relativity - the existence of good only in relationship to bad, for example - made part of the book interesting. Otherwise, unless I missed it, I didn't find anything in the story that had anything to say, or made the listen worthwhile at all.
If you have a hard time accepting evolution vs. creationism, maybe this book will give you a context within which to consider both as peacefully coexisting. But even there, I'm not sure it has a lot to say of any real substance.
Found it childish. Not one of my favored reads, I'm afraid.
Avid reader/listener of romance, action, thrillers, and spy novels.
The author's character who creates one universe goes from uncaring and dispassionate to becoming increasingly concerned and enthralled with the universe and its inhabitants. As the story progresses, he becomes more protective of the universe and the beings within it. Its growth mirrors his own, for as the universe grows, so does his understanding of life and how it relates to him, even though he is immortal and could easily start over with another universe. It is amazing how bereft he is at the end and how he looks forward to the future, instead of just taking a nap that lasts eons, like he does in the beginning of the book.
Aunt Penelope's dress. You have to listen to know about the dress.
I have several books read by him, mainly the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry. He's the reason why I picked up this book. He has a great voice, great characterization of the book, and great pacing. When the book calls for emotions, he delivers and then some.
When Mr. G visited his creation and learned about an 18 year old girl who has to choose between obeying her mother and obeying the law. The consequences of her actions haunts them both and makes him rethink his policy of not intervening on their behalf.
This book can get long winded and technical, especially with math and science jargon. That is why I gave it a 3 star. I got bored in a few places, mostly with the descriptions of elements, atoms, and the Hydrogen Clock. If you're looking for something light, this isn't it. If you're looking for something that will make you rethink about the intity of God and how a creation could happen, this is for you.Aunt and Uncle provide comic relief, but not enough of it.
It's difficult to be god but Lightman makes a decent attempt, at least not an authoritarian one.
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This book was extremely beautiful. The ending was kind of sad, but this is absolutely an outstanding work.
Congratulations to the Alan Lightman for venturing out onto such thin ice.
For those of us who love to learn about science and theory but still have a sense of humour, or enjoy the immersion of meaning and myth but appreciate grounding in fact and telling details, this is great fun.
The ending gets a bit soft, but headed in the right direction in terms of bringing all the speculation (scientific and spiritual) to the level of everyday human experience. Perhaps there would be a way to draw full circle with more intensity and interaction between the realms.
If they book had followed the creations more. Just hearing the Creator talking with his annoying Aunt and Belhor was boring. I also found it very repetative. Way too much description at times. I just could not keep my mind on it!
He was fine. He did the best he could with what he was given.
The Aunt was insufferable.
Certain friends might find it amusing. Others would not get it, or could be offended.
Auntie's dress. The death of the first universe.
Yes, because otherwise it could get a bit confusing. Fortunately, it was short enough for a lengthy drive.
Friend of Woz
I quit listening about half way through the book. It started very well, but then I lost interest.
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