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‘This unusual, gorgeously written novel is filled with pleasures . . . [it is] an invitation to wonder—about the imponderables of life and death, the nature of intelligence and the ultimately inexplicable relationships of fathers and sons.’ Booklist
A dazzling novel from the bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, winner of the 2017 Indie Prize for Literary Fiction.
Nathan Nelson is the average son of a genius. His father, a physicist of small renown, has prodded him toward greatness from an early age, but despite Samuel Nelson’s efforts Nathan remains ordinary.
Then, in the summer of 1987, everything changes. Nathan is involved in a terrible accident and falls into a coma. When he awakens, he finds that everyday life is radically different. His perceptions of sight, sound and memory have been irrevocably changed. The doctors and his parents fear permanent brain damage, but the truth of his condition is more unexpected and leads to a renewed chance for Nathan to find his place in the world.
Thinking that his son’s altered brain is worthy of serious inquiry, Samuel arranges for Nathan to attend a research centre where savants, prodigies and neurological misfits are studied and their specialties applied. Immersed in this strange atmosphere—where an autistic boy can tell you what day Christmas falls on in 3026 but can’t tie his shoelaces—Nathan begins to unravel the mysteries of his new mind and finally makes peace with the crushing weight of his father’s expectations.
A brilliant exploration of the fault lines that can cause a family to drift apart, the unexpected events that can pull them back together and a ‘luminous addition to novels about fathers and sons’ (Kirkus Reviews).
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