Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 24 July 2013
The lead character in The Teleportation Accident is called Loeser. Egon Loeser. To an English eye, it looks like the word Loser, which he undoubtedly is in the modern, L on the forehead, meaning of the word. To a German - and Loeser is a German character from 30s Berlin - it has other connotations. Loesen can mean to solve a riddle, which Loeser does, or struggles to do; and it occurs in the word Endloesung (final solution), with regard to Jews in Hitler's Germany - a subject which the character, Loeser, deals with towards the end of the novel. So far, so clever.
The plot shifts through the centuries, with references to 17th century Paris and Venice, scenes in Berlin, New York, L.A, Washington that are intricately interlinked. Internally, the references that Beauman sets up are also echoed throughout the narrative. The theme of the teleportation machine - with its different uses and significance in different points of history - is fascinating. Pre-war Berlin is beautifully evoked, as are the cities in America. Colonel Gorge and Professor Bailey - to pick just a couple of the fine cast of characters - are creations worthy of Pynchon. It is all very very clever.
And yet I haven't given this 5 stars, because although I 'liked' it, as the Amazon rating system suggests - and admired it, and enjoyed it, and marvelled at some of the sentences, and laughed at scenes and dialogues and plot twists throughout - I didn't love it. There is a cold, analytical, almost misanthropic core to the novel that is deeper than the portrayal of Loeser himself. None of the characters betray anything resembling emotion, and as a result, I found it difficult to feel anything for any of them. And given the subject matter at various points in the novel, this was a shame. I loved Boxer, Beetle, and look forward to Ned Beauman's next novel, but for me at least, the Teleportation Accident was a little too clever clever.