Omega Minor Paperback – 27 Nov 2007
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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?