In "The Invention of Everything Else", Samantha Hunt fictionalises the story of the Serbian-born scientist Nikola Tesla, inventor of radio and creator of AC electricity, a notoriously marginalised genius whose wild eccentricities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and germ-phobia, have made him a counter culture icon, but who faded into ...
In "The Invention of Everything Else", Samantha Hunt fictionalises the story of the Serbian-born scientist Nikola Tesla, inventor of radio and creator of AC electricity, a notoriously marginalised genius whose wild eccentricities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and germ-phobia, have made him a counter culture icon, but who faded into obscurity in his final years and died in poverty, suspected of anti-American sentiment. His carelessness about protecting his ideas through patents meant that he was eclipsed in reputation by Thomas Edison and Marconi, both of whom built fortunes by stealing Tesla's ideas."The Invention of Everything Else" revolves around the twin poles of the inventor, and Louisa, a highly sensitive and imaginative young woman who encounters Tesla at the end of his life. It is also a novel about a father and a daughter, a love story, a New York story, and a literary mystery. In this meticulously researched and biographically accurate novel, Samantha Hunt weaves these elements into a narrative that is buoyant, engaging, and triumphant. "The Invention of Everything Else" is a beautiful, moving, and thrilling exploration of human loneliness and isolation and the opposing power of emotional and scientific imagination.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-01-07 In Hunt's (The Seas) overstuffed and uneven novel set in New York, circa 1943, an aging Nikola Tesla lives at the Hotel New Yorker and cares for (and chats with) pigeons while planning what could be his boldest invention yet. He forges an unlikely friendship with Louisa Dewell, a 24-year-old chambermaid at the hotel who also keeps a pigeon coop. The book alternates between Niko's reminisces of turn-of-the century Manhattan and Louisa's current domestic dramas; Niko revisits old grievances concerning the usurpation or dismissal of his many inventions, and Louisa gets ensnared in her zany father's mission to travel back in time and reconnect with his dead wife via a time machine built by his lifelong friend Azor Carter. Assisting in the scheme is Louisa's mysterious beau, Arthur Vaughn, who may or may not be from the future. Although many events are drawn from Tesla's life, he and his peers, including Thomas Edison and John Muir, are cartoonish. Likewise, the city backdrop is drenched in rosy nostalgia (even Hell's Kitchen is a quaint neighborhood). Each individual plot thread has potential, but the cumulative effect is dulled by an unwieldy structure. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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