Feature

Novel of the week: Mr. g by Alan Lightman

Fans of Lightman’s previous novel, Einstein’s Dreams, will recognize the playful imagination behind Mr. g.

(Pantheon, $25)

Most physics professors wouldn’t deign to write a novel about an omniscient deity, said David Duhr in the Dallas Morning News. Then there’s Alan Lightman. A theoretical physicist at MIT and, yes, an atheist, Lightman has built this slim book around what appears to be his ideal version of a Creator. Things get interesting when “Mr. g” begins tinkering with his favorite universe, Aalam-104729, and discovers that intelligent life has developed there while he was otherwise occupied. Fans of Lightman’s popular previous novel, 1993’s Einstein’s Dreams, will recognize the playful imagination behind this book, said Joseph Peschel in The Boston Globe. Its most thought-provoking scenes involve Mr. g and Belhor, a demonic intelligence who springs up on Aalam-104729 to question each of Mr. g’s moves. Atheists and religionists may take issue, but if you’re open-minded enough to consider the possibility that science and faith can coexist, you’ll enjoy “this clever and witty creation.”

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