The Stone Loves the World

Viking. Jun. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780593297223. $28. F
Twenty-year-old math genius and software developer Mette flees a failed New York City romance and rides a bus to Seattle while she contemplates whether or not to end her life. Her deeply imperfect estranged parents—actor/playwright Saskia and socially awkward astronomy professor Mark, the product of a family history that is soaked in science (his father was a physicist; his mother, a thwarted astronomer)—stumble toward each other to track down their missing, endangered daughter. Mette is on her way to see her eccentric grandfather, who lives in a windmill on a small Danish island and knows a thing or two about suicide. As the intersecting stories move back and forth in time, Saskia, Mark, and Mette put their everyday actions under the microscope of scientific, musical, theatrical, and mathematical principles, and the result is astonishing.
VERDICT Hall’s latest novel about these brilliant characters, who are all tangled up in multiple battles between their off-the-charts IQs and their uncomfortable but determined need to find meaningful relationships, will lead readers on a glorious literary ride. Prepare for demand for his 1996 prequel The Saskiad, about 12-year-old Saskia’s life on a commune.
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