The Invention of Everything Else Paperback – 1 March 2009
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It is 1943, and the renowned inventor Nikola Tesla occupies a forbidden room on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker, stealing electricity. Louisa, a young maid at the hotel determined to befriend him, wins his attention through a shared love of pigeons; with her, we hear his tragic and tremendous life story unfold. Meanwhile, Louisa discovers that her father--and her handsome, enigmatic love interest, Arthur Vaughan--are on an unlikely mission to travel back in time and find his beloved late wife.
A masterful hybrid of history, biography, and science fiction, with Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Mark Twain making appearances, The Invention of Everything Else is an absorbing story about love and death and a wonderfully imagined homage to one of history's most visionary scientists.
"An engaging portrait...and a poignant one of Tesla...There's much food for thought here and some very beautiful prose." Kirkus Reviews
"Hunt (The Seas) delivers a breathtaking novel that is both difficult to classify and impossible to ignore." Library Journal
"Oddly charming and pleasantly peculiar, Hunt's novel offers a unique perspective on hope and imagining life's possibilities." Booklist, ALA
"Inspires both awe and envy...Hunt seems to achieve this blend effortlessly...making it more remarkable still with her own offbeat sensibility." Bookpage
"A New York City chambermaid sparks a friendship with oddball inventor Nikola Tesla in Samantha Hunt's dazzling novel." Vanity Fair
"Sophisticated pastiche of science fiction, fantasy, melodrama, and historical anecdote...It all adds up to a precocious math of human marvel." Elle
"Former real-life scientist Nikola Tesla befriends a fictional hotel chambermaid in Samantha Hunt's ingenious work of historical fiction." Marie Claire
"Hunt's magical new novel is a love letter to one of the world's most remarkable inventors...For a moment...everything seems possible." The Washington Post
"[Hunt] puts her considerable talents to work...Tesla's story...is crafted with an intensity...that makes the heart beat faster." Los Angeles Times
"Full of vivid imagery, sounds, memories...this novel is a sweet story of just how normal it is to be different." Boston Globe
"Hunt's history-steeped tale...reminds us that science necessitates creativity, which also, of course, is the essence of literature." The San Francisco Chronicle
"In her vivid reimagining...Hunt pursues the links between science and creativity and storytelling and invention to their logical extreme." New York Magazine
"Glorious...pages of prose: daring and delicious, perfectly calibrated, fresh but not raw, original but neither off-putting nor disconcertingly strange." The Chicago Tribune
"[INVENTION is] a smart, colorful novel about aspiration and wish fulfillment in a world...engineers can't control." - The Believer
"Hunt's fascination with language is unmistakable, resulting in beautiful, intimate observations . . . elegant, inspired." The Village Voice
"Marvelous...one wishes these scenes would never end...[it] takes its readers back to a kindler, gentler New York." - LA Weekly
"Hunt weaves the stranger-than-fiction facts...into an engaging novel...that crackles with the possibility and promise of scientific innovation." - Seed
"An electrified, magnetized concoction that pleases, teases and dazzles...takeoff soaring with her, you will not be disappointed..." - The Oregonian
"The author is rapturous, vividly in love with her subjects and her characters." - New York Observer
"[Hunt's] novel might be 2008's 'Special Topics in Calamity Physics'...soulful and scientific at the same time." - Velocity Weekly
"Hunt weaves history and imagination to create a seductively original world..." -- Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment
"A highwire performance by a soulful and wildly intelligent writer." -- Rene Steinke, author of the NBA-nominated Holy Skirts
"You hold in your hands an important, fun, educational, magic read." -- Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng --
From the Back Cover
From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him. Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Tesla inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication and he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker. Winning his attention through a shared love of pigeons, she eventually uncovers the story of Tesla's life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamed of pulling electricity from the sky. The mystery deepens when Louisa reunites with an enigmatic former classmate and faces the loss of her father as he attempts to travel to the past to meet up with his beloved wife. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention.
"Remarkable . . . It is a rare thing for a writer to conjure belief and true understanding, but with The Invention of Everything Else, Samantha Hunt has accomplished exactly that."
A Borders Original Voices Selection
A Book Sense Pick
Samantha Hunt is the author of the acclaimed first novel, The Seas, which in 2006 won a National Book Foundation award for writers under thirty-five. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker and McSweeney's. She lives in New York."
- Publisher : Mariner Books; First Edition (1 March 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 054708577X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0547085777
- Dimensions : 13.49 x 1.6 x 20.32 cm
- Customer reviews:
Top reviews from other countries
In fact I found it a hard read.
The Invention Of Everything Else is a semi-fictional history of Tesla, one of the greatest minds the world has ever known, and the people he comes into contact with at various points in his life. We witness his successes and failures, his emergence and withdrawal, his youth, his old age, and some sort of ending. Wrapped around this is the tale of Louisa and Walter- a father and daughter team whose own losses and inspirations have a way of mirroring Tesla's. Most of the story is based in reality, which is always more fantastic than magic and myth as Tesla alludes to at several points, before twisting this notion on it's head and introducing an element of time-travel towards the end. Presumably the point is that if Tesla brought the mystical and the impossible into reality via science a hundred years ago, why not in the modern age should we refuse to accept the possibility of time travel? Of course, nothing is straight-forward here as Tesla is presented as a man of limitless invention and foresight, but whose ideas sometimes failed disastrously; add to this some lesser known inventors and crazies and we get the impression that while many things may be possible in the future, a mind like Tesla's is unique.
There are some brilliant characters here, screaming to get off the pages but unfortunately many of them are treated too sharply and shortly that we never truly get a grasp upon them, their thoughts, their motivations. We get within touching distance of these people but they are thrust away from us just before we make a genuine connection. If I was reading between the lines I might say that this was intentional, that it reflects the true nature of these characters' lives in that they too are left cold and uncertain by the people they meet- but there isn't enough evidence to prove that Hunt intended this.
The narrative is at times too jarring to make this as comfortable a read as it should and could have been. Like previously mentioned, we are made to work for our rewards- a fact which some readers will not respond to, while others may relish. There is an interesting tale here of the varieties and charms of human nature, of the toils and triumphs one can achieve, and of the irony that the human brain may not yet be powerful enough to house equal amounts of perfection in knowledge, humour, confidence, social skills, and that human culture may not yet be developed enough to accept brilliance readily, innocently, without envy, and as something we should all aspire to. Hunt is a reader to look out for and with a little more refinement and polish her next novel could be something to make an aspiring world proud of.