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The Discovery of Heaven [Paperback]

Harry Mulisch
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Feb 1998
On a cold night in Holland, Max Delius - a hedonistic, yet brilliant astronomer who loves fast cars, nice clothes and women - picks up Onno Quist, a cerebral chaotic philologist who cannot bear the banalities of everyday life. They are like fire andwater. But when they learn they were conceived on the same day, it is clear that something extraordinary is about to happen. Their worlds become inextricably intertwined, as they embark on a life's journey destined to change the course of human history. A magnum opus that is also a masterful thriller.


Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140272380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140272383
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Harry Mulisch was born in Holland and is author of the international best-seller THE ASSAULT, which has been translated into 22 languages and an award winning screenplay. He lives in Amsterdam.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
At the stroke of midnight I contrived a short-circuit. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dutch treat 6 Dec 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Being Dutch, I was able to enjoy this novel in its original language, and I loved it. You may not know this but, in Holland Harry Mulish is regarded as one of the best writers of our time. It is pleasing to see that this book brings Dutch literature to the attention of the international public. It certainly derserves the credit. Check out other Dutch writers, such as Hella Haasse, Tim Krabbé, Margriet de Moor or Leon de Winter. Enjoy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A singularly Dutch novel of philosophical ideas. 15 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
There is enough material in The Discovery of Heaven to fill several books, and a writer of lesser integrity might have split the phases of Ada, Max, Onno, Sophia and Quinten's lives into separate volumes. Instead, Mulisch expertly, if sometimes jarringly, even violently, welds them together using what would otherwise have been cliffhanger endings as startling links between episodes of quite different flavours. This literary device is crucial to the plot; it reflects the experiences and informs the reactions of the characters with precision. It is only one aspect of this intelligent novel which delights, intrigues and challenges at all levels.
It is a very Dutch story and I was repeatedly reminded of my several Dutch friends throughout. I was especially pleased with Max's humanity -- as an astronomer myself, it was refreshing to find such a character with infinitely more depth than an inappropriate white lab-coat.
The story is a fantasy of grand design, set in a tangibly real world with convincing, larger-than-life characters, resulting in fiction which carries more truth than its fair share. There are no mundane details and the character's every act is touched with subtle significance. A read to add richness to any life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weighty but worthwhile! 12 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
Although some readers think it is a big, weighty tome, covering the big themes (philosophy, sex, the holocaust, politics) it is absolutely worth one's time and effort. This is a superb book, and I recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars provocative, intellectual, relevant 30 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I guess I picked this book up because of the pretentious title - "The Discovery of Heaven!" , and also because I noted that it was largely based in Amsterdam, a city I love. And because I'm trying to work my way into Fiction after years of addiction to Non-Fiction. The addiction is cured, or should I say more accurately, reversed. I had forgotten how a good novel can transcend reality, but paradoxically, be more relevant to our lives than straight non-fiction. If potential readers are interested in male friendships, single parenthood, questionable paternity, astronomy, biblical studies, linguistics, european travel, history, the holocaust, amsterdam city living, theology, or just about any other topic for that matter, settle back for a few weeks (730 pages!) at night with this master tome. . This is one of those books that causes you to begin slowing down your reading pace towards the last 200 pages or so, re-reading passages, and reflecting on paragraphs, so as to postpone the painful time when you will no longer be reading it. I now find myself considering something I've never done before in my 44 years: Re-reading an entire book simply for pleasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The best book I've read by Mulisch yet. Being Dutch I've got the advantage on most of the other readers because I've had the privelage to have been able to read books and essays by Mr Mulisch since the late sixties'. Harry Mulisch wrote not only this wonderful book, and the internationally acclaimed "The Assault" but a quite a few earlier books that were not translated into English. I agree fully with my fellow compatriate from Kerkrade who writes that this book clearly draws attention to Dutch litarature. Apart from the authors that my friend from Kerkrade offers to the Amazone-readers I would like to add the following names:Jan Wolkers, Lisette Lewin, Arnon Grunberg and Frans Pointl. Obviously I'm not sure these authors are available in English translations. They should be !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mulisch/Fuentes 12 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Quick note: I loved this novel; it certainly warrants all the praise. In addition to the plot intracacies & its philosphical aspects, the story moves quickly & the conclusion satisfies-- not an easy move. Eco's Foucault's Pendulum was wonderful up to the last few chapters, but Mulisch produces from start to finish. I thought he was going one way & he spun me on my head with the last exchange (I may have been in denial.) I haven't read an ending like that since Fuentes' Terra Nostra (& that narrative was not as tight as Mulisch's). Enjoy, & don't read anything about the book until you have finished. The surprises are half the delight--
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewildering, Mysterious. 2 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I consider myself an avid reader. Harry Mulisch's "De Ontdekking van de Hemel" seized my attention like no other work of 20th century European fiction, except perhaps Thomas Mann's "Der Zauberberg". Not bad company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey through the mind and the world 1 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Having stumbled upon this book in the book store, I was mesmerized upon the completion of the first few pages and decided to buy it. It takes one to the history of mankind, morals and philosophy, sciences and religion, and most of all, it awakens the senses that lays dorment, recolouring again the things in our daily lives that's greyed out and have become a habit.
Often re-reading short paragraphs or sections could bring you to your own new thinking.
If a high school student like myself can be enlightened and deem it one of the best books I've written, the world should share it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, well-developed and a wonderful read
First off, this book is not for you if you can only handle light literature along the lines of fantasy books, Coelho, and others of those lines. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Teresa Inskip Diez
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
This book might appeal to a philosopher or well-read academic. It is not a hard-to-put-down book, rather a hard-to-continue book. I am persevering in my discovery of heaven?
Published 13 months ago by KERNOW
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
A great book.

After finishing it I went out a bought the Torah -- which I read cover to cover.
Published on 22 Sep 2010 by Kirk
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I picked up a second hand version of this book off Amazon on the recommendation of a Dutch colleague. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2009 by Sharad
2.0 out of 5 stars Overstuffed with disparate themes
The fullest review I have read of this book on Amazon is by Damian Kelleher (22 October 2007), and I suggest you read his review before you read mine, for that saves me from having... Read more
Published on 15 July 2009 by Ralph Blumenau
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich in ideas and culture, but ultimately disappointing
The Discovery of Heaven is packed with felicitous turns of phrase, insights, and cultural allusions. Read more
Published on 13 May 2008 by James Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars The Discovery of Heaven
Two angels are conversing. Apparently, Francis Bacon - the 16th century scientist credited with establishing, among other things, the scientific methodology known as the 'Baconian... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2007 by Damian Kelleher
5.0 out of 5 stars An philosophical exploration and epic journey!
This is a great novel and, for me, everything that a novel should be; characters that develop within an immense plot, an epic journey and an exploration of philosophy, pyschology... Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2006 by MEB
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever
This is probably the best book I have ever read. I had always been rather hesitant to start this book because of its size and the prospect of it being a very complex book as Mulish... Read more
Published on 7 April 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid magic-realistic dutch novel
As other customers already mentioned, I agree that this novel reminds me to the works of Umberto Eco. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2002
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