Quantum physics. Synesthesia. Fascinating background to this coming-of-age story.
Plot summary: This is the story of a father-son relationship. Samuel Nelson is a physicist with high expectations of his son Nathan, who is of average ability. An accident in which Nathan is seriously injured and has a near-death experience causes synesthesia, a major change in his brain. As his father tries to find a new purpose for Nathan, their relationship becomes strained even further.
Quotes from the book:
- “I’d been raised in a household where my father ignored me unless he was holding up some intellectual hoop for me to jump through, and where my mother’s dream of family solidarity was all of us sitting in the kitchen eating pad thai while playing gin rummy.”
- “What you do isn’t who you are.”
Extract (PDF): The Beautiful Miscellaneous Chapter Sampler by Allen & Unwin on Scribd Author website
- “A luminous addition to novels about fathers and sons.” Full review : Kirkus
- “The book offers some fascinating insights into quantum physics, as Nathan recounts pilgrimages to the Stanford Linear Accelerator where his father desperately attempts to “coax a new particle into measurable existence.” But fundamentally, “The Beautiful Miscellaneous” is a simple coming-of-age tale, and Smith’s writing is direct yet eloquent, distilling the disappointment we all feel at not being able to meet the expectations of those we love.” Full review: Boston Globe