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Omega Minor Paperback – 27 Nov 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 691 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (27 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564784770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564784773
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 858,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


this is an uncommonly intellectually stretching- and satisfying - experience' -Matt Thorne, The Independent

About the Author

Paul Verhaeghen is a Belgian novelist, writing in his native Dutch. His novels include Lichtenberg and Omega Minor. Omega Minor has been translated into German, English French, and Hungarian.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are some excellent tracts within this cauldron of a novel, including (for me at least) a convincing account of the holocaust experience from the point of view of a jewish adolescent. Events and characters around the genesis of the US atom bomb are reasonably interesting as well. But - what a mess! Nearly 700 pages long, at least 3 different narrative styles/voices. Often feels like a film script, where not knowing who 'I' is isn't a problem. I found most of the female characters more adolescent fantasy than realistic, and some of the prose comes from the same place as well. As with other recent novels, heavily in need of editing; there is probably a good 300 page book trying to get out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite possibly the most memorable novel I will ever read. Although the recent genre of novels based in and around historical events seems to be flooding the literary market these days, this stands out.
Major historical events in Modern Eurpoe are wodnerfully and eloquentally detailed by Verhaegen whislt weavign an intricate plot amongst individuals you find yourself udenrstanding very early. Fro a novel of 700 pages, each and every page was a dleight, and no task whatsover. I could pick this book up and read 50 pages a day for the rest of my life, should it be long enough.

Beautifully written by a psychologist who understands the human condition and creates lyrics and not words, in an unforgetable book.
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Very interesting novel -- very ambitious in scope, but well worth the read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mighty axe taken to our experience of history 30 Jan. 2008
By Eric G. Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Fans of the supermassive black hole known as the postmodern novel could easily overlook this quiet English debut by a Flemish author, as I nearly did. That would be a shame, because it makes a major contribution to the genre. The sheer scale of its ambition makes it hard to describe, but here goes: both the subject and the object of the novel - both its content and its narrative experience - is the fracturing of the Western psyche in the twin events of the Holocaust and the atomic bomb.

The subjective, compromised historical accounts in the novel continuously thwart the reader's need to moralize and synthesize. One of the narrative threads audaciously deconstructs the "sanctified literary genre" of the Holocaust memoir, arguing that its cool, objective testimony, the "Style," grants the reader an undeserved identification with the victim and a false moral distance. The survivor De Beer's tale is told to Verhaeghen's own narrative proxy, the psychology student "Paul," and their tempestuous author-reader relationship elevates awareness of our own participation in smug historical distancing.

The thematic device that ties together the plot threads is the concept of dark matter, signified in Einstein's equations by the Omega symbol. Competing theories of dark matter's make-up, either as Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs) or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) provide an elegant metaphor for history: we are continually pulled into the orbit of big ideas, but we are ultimately alone on the journey and trapped by our own subjectivity.

Veraeghen's physics-history amalgamation raises obvious comparisons to Pynchon, a debt that the novel pays in a sly tribute: in one scene a woman dances to a ramshackle band "as if Benny Goodman were playing and not some poor man's orchestra led by Pig Bodine" - a reference to Pynchon's recurring character. But Verhaeghen's creation is unique, a totalizing experience of the last century's worst moments and of our own sad efforts to make sense of them. At one point De Beer suggests that a story can be "an axe to decapitate any happiness that is too-good-to-be-true," and what higher purpose can a novel serve than to take that axe to history?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves the National Book Award/ Nobel/ etc. 5 July 2008
By M. Haber - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't believe there are only two reviews for this brilliant, all-encompassing masterpiece! Instead of talking about the stories, themes and plots of this beautiful work I'll only say - not unlike Catch-22, Lolita, The Savage Detectives or any important work - anyone with an appreciation of literature MUST read this.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Still Born Child 30 July 2008
By John J. Mclennon Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Omega Minor should be substantially better than it is. Paul Verhaeghen is obviously a brilliant writer, but there are serious problems here. For my taste, there is too much pornography. I would have liked more erotica and less raunch. If you like to read about sperm spurting like a geyser, and oozing, and goozing, this is the novel for you. There is hardly a scene in which sperm doesn't play a role. In all fairness, I would say sperm is one of the major characters. The novel is way too long. Verhaeghen could add considerable life to his story simply by cutting three or four hundred gratuitous pages that slug-up the momentum. (It would be nice to see some of those sperm pages hit the waste-basket.) There are so many typos and the thing is so long that one has to wonder if it was edited at all. The story occasionally stretches one's credibility and every now and then the author intrudes himself to load the reader down with his moralizations. It doesn't happen often but is annoying when it does. For such an emotionally charged subject his story is presented without passion or pathos, much like a ryecrisp on a plate. His characters throw themselves into wild emotional contortions, but their agonies don't touch the reader, largely because the characters themselves are not sympathetic. One could hardly care what happens to them. On the positive side, Verhaeghen frequently gives the reader some beautiful prose. The passages on astronomy and scientific speculation are fascinating, and his knowledge of the holocaust is expert. This works less as a novel, I think, than a very strange essay. If, on the other hand, you like Pynchon, you might just love Omega Minor.
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the next one 9 Nov. 2015
By Louis Postel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm taking off one star to fault author for not offering another novel.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A difficult book to read 3 Aug. 2012
By Dr. Aviv Weinstein - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found the book utterly boring and tidious, despite my effort to keep on reading it I had to stop.
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