Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review of An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson

What an elegant book by Paul Roberston, a man whose other books I am going to search out. Paul writes about a time when men thought they could worship God by the study of math as well as they could sitting in a pew.
Let me quote a paragraph in the book where the main character is contemplating Newton's math of gravity:
The stars were vast, but their infinite sum still was only a finite portion of the sky. They were vastly far away, and who would know their bright essence? I knew I was very small on the great planet, beneath the greater heavens, but it was within me to comprehend them and know how they were governed. What could it mean that God had put in finite man the chance to study the infinite?
The sweet, humble main character is the type of student who makes his teachers look good. He notices all of the seen and much of the unseen. Because of that ability, there is a point in the book where I do not know if Leonhard is talking to his father, to a vision of his father, or to God.
There is the mystery of a murder that Leonhard wishes to solve, but that is a fairly small portion of this rich, rich book.
Some people will find this book slow as Leonhard thinks about everything he sees, but I loved every word. I would have liked more words, especially near the end where Leonhard did a lot of things without the author letting us know why. Perhaps the author wanted us the readers to be as surprised as all the characters in the book were. It's a technique I don't care for. There is also a convenient Deus ex machina (well foreshadowed) at the end which would annoy if it weren't so fitting in this setting.
I don't know how much of the book is bafflegab and how much is true, but everything I looked up is true; and everything I could comprehend and remember from prior study is true. One surprise for me was to find out how many kinds of spirals there are.
I can heartily recommend this book for anybody you know who has an intellectual bent, or who has an interest in history, or who enjoys convoluted murder mysteries. Really, this will make an elegant gift.

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