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Brazzaville Beach

Brazzaville Beach

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Sometimes in first person, sometimes in third person, sometimes in regular type, sometimes in italics. He and his wife have a house in Chelsea, West London but spend most of the year at their chateau in Bergerac in south west France, where Boyd produces award-winning wines. Brazzaville Beach is, to some degree, about tasting the fruits of knowledge and losing one’s innocence. I’d so like to keep it on my shelves and have considered a few ways of explaining its loss (the cat ate it and the like), but it never worked on my teachers and I don’t suppose my conscience could take it these days.

Like his 2012 book, Waiting for Sunrise, Boyd employed a complex structure in this 1990 novel about science and discord, both marital and professional. Here’s the plot in a nutshell: Hope, a brilliant scientist in her own right, marries a mercurial and highly intellectual mathematician, who increasingly begins to go insane as he pursues an elusive game theory on turbulence. When you yourself have suffered considerably, it is hard to cope with the rest of the world’s indifference to your experience, and upsetting to see how unmarked it is. The story intertwines different narrative strands as the reader is led into the vortex of Hope's complex world.

In this engrossing book, Boyd very deftly braids three story strands: Hope’s present day life on Brazzaville Beach; Hope’s former life in England with her husband John; and Hope’s recent experiences at Grosso Arvore, and her experiences with the chimps. At the beginning of their marriage the two are very much in love with Hope believing that John is the ideal man for her owing to his rather eccentric but empathetic character and strong intelligence. Yet Mallabar will not even entertain that idea; he, too, is losing it as he holds on to the tendrils of knowledge that he has accumulated. For example, her husband John makes a lot of progress in areas of turbulence and catastrophe theory, which fuels her efforts to account for sudden discontinuities in her own life; as John’s own psychological instability leads him to focus instead on invariance of forms in the field of topology, she looks to how other people differ from her ultimately in only in minor ways. There are parallels to dominion and sex, aggression, and the need to find clear and determined answers.

For Hope's husband John and Hope's boss Eugene Mallabar, fame and reputation are matters of life and death. John is a man obsessed with developing a new theory and when Hope inspires him with what she terms his "Clearwater Set," John's fanaticism reaches scary levels.The first signs are when he is caught digging an illegal long trench on the Knap estate in Dorset, work that he feels will help him visualise the mathematical formulae he is trying to come to grips with (having worked before during their stay at a rented cottage in Scotland).

From her troubled marriage in England to her job monitoring chimpanzee activities in the jungles of Africa and finally.He is the world’s leading authority on chimpanzee behaviour, his reputation resting on a 1962 book which describes chimps living in peaceful and cooperative societies. The meandering story lines are littered with esoteric but fascinating details from many areas of the natural sciences.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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