Customer Reviews for

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

Average Rating 2.5
( 4 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2006

    The wrong half of the story

    Godel and Turing are two of the greatest and most influential minds of the 20th century. They were also seriously disturbed individuals. Ms. Levin fails to provide a glimpse into the mind of genius and gives only a superficial rendering of the stereotypical socially dysfunctional genius.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2006

    Written in a prose lacking elegance, clarity and precision, and riddled with grammatical errors

    ¿Proper words in proper places,¿ wrote the great Irish writer Jonathan Swift, ¿make the true definition of style.¿ I have always believed that if you wish to consider a novel as good, it must be written well, with clarity and precision. And, of course, adhering to the rules of grammar always helps. I had read a good review of this novel in The New York Times, and so I decided to read this book, hoping to experience the joy of reading a book that many critics have admired. So, imagine my surprise as I read the first two pages. The prose lacked elegance and clarity, the words lacked precision and, to make the matter worse, riddled with grammatical errors. I checked who published this book, and I was quite astonished, because Knopf Publishing Group publishes V. S. Naipaul¿s books also. (Without a doubt, Naipaul, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, is the greatest master of English prose among living writers.) These five sentences are from the first chapter of the novel: ¿The Cafe Josephinum is a smell first, a stinging smell of roasted Turkish beans too heavy to waft on air and so waiting instead for the more powerful current of steam blown off the surface of boiling saucers fomenting to coffee. By merely snorting the vapors out of the air, patrons become overstimulated. The cafe appears in the brain as this delicious, muddy scent first, awaking a memory of the shifting room of mirrors second--the memory nearly as energetic as the actual sight of the room, which appears in the mind only third. The coffee is a fuel to power ideas. A fuel for the anxious hope that the harvest of art and words and logic will be the richest ever because only the most fecund season will see them through the siege of this terrible winter and the siege of that terrible war.¿ After reading these sentences three times, I still didn¿t understand what the author was trying to inform the reader. It felt like gobbledygook to me. I know that one can snort snuff, cocaine, or a drug in powder form, but how does one snort vapors? Since vapors just hang in the air, you simply breathe in the vapor, as you breathe air. No violent force is needed to breathe the vapors in. I have never heard of anyone snorting vapors. Also, read what the author says about Olga: ¿Olga, whose blindness descended with the conclusion of an infection,¿..¿. What does the author mean? Does she simply mean to inform the reader that Olga¿s blindness was caused by an infection? ¿Everyone gathered on this Thursday, the rotating numbers accounting for some three dozen, believe in their very hearts that mathematics is unassailable.¿ Every one gathered on this Thursday believe in their very hearts? Did an editor at Knopf Publishing Group ever read this book? I can go on and on, but what¿s the point? Well, you get the drift. Give this book to an English grammarian and watch him pass out after reading ten pages. Among the people involved in the publication of this book, however, the person who has impressed me the most is the author¿s agent. I admire her ability to persuade and to sell. Considering the fact that she sold this horror of the English language to the venerable Knopf Publishing Group, I have no doubt that she is a great asset to her agency.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2008

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