Particles and Luck

Particles and Luck

by Louis B. Jones
     
 

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Mark Perdue and Roger Hoberman have nothing in common—except the joy of adjoining yards. Mark is a whiz-kid physicist who knows that his “genius” stature and his endowed chair at Berkeley are bits of dumb luck; Roger is the owner of a pizza franchise whose luck has turned dumb—in financial and marital distress, he has been denied child…  See more details below

Overview

Mark Perdue and Roger Hoberman have nothing in common—except the joy of adjoining yards. Mark is a whiz-kid physicist who knows that his “genius” stature and his endowed chair at Berkeley are bits of dumb luck; Roger is the owner of a pizza franchise whose luck has turned dumb—in financial and marital distress, he has been denied child visitation rights but not babysitting obligations.

Now luck, in the form of an adverse claim on their property, brings Mark and Roger together for a fateful Halloween night neither of them will ever forget. Loony, humane, and transcendently wise, Particles and Luck is an irresistible comedy of manners and epistemology.

“A lovely and invigorating novel . . . a domestic farce and social satire. Jones writes [an] engaging novelistic equivalent of a unified field theory—in this case, a link between the human heart and the behavior of subatomic particles.” —Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

“Jones is the real thing—a writer with something to say and his own way of saying it.” —Scott Turow

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As readers of Jones's debut novel, Ordinary Money , discovered, he has a keen eye for the foolish and incongruous moments in daily existence, and a knack for portraying the hard-pressed lives of those on the edge of financial disaster. The protagonist of his second novel, theoretical physicist Mark Perdue, is at the other end of the financial spectrum: at age 23 he published a brilliant theory and now, four years later, he is rich and famous and holds a prestigious chair at Berkeley. But the next-door neighbor in his condo development is just such another feckless down-and-outer: Roger Hoberman's pizza restaurant is failing, his divorced wife is rejecting his efforts at reconciliation and he is about to be evicted from his home. Even so, Roger involves Mark in a harebrained scheme to thwart an attempt to press an old claim against their properties. Mark, who feels guilty about his good luck--including his recent marriage to a beautiful and brainy lawyer--is drawn into Roger's plan to install fenceposts on their property in the dead of night. An absurdist comic caper ensues, fueled by many beers and even more contretemps. Jones succeeds in conveying the cluttered, perpetually analyzing mind of a scientist: Mark is obsessive-compulsive about observing certain rituals, and his attention constantly wanders as he ponders the nature of time and space. Jones is equally adept at capturing the oddly endearing Roger's blue-collar lifestyle and manner of speaking. But perhaps because Mark's ruminations tend to slow the narrative, the novel never gains the dramatic momentum of Ordinary Money . Even so, as Mark realizes that blind human nature can outwit scientific knowledge, the novel moves to a satisfying close. (Apr.)
Donna Seaman
The second novel by the author of "Ordinary Money" (1989) is absolutely hilarious, clever, unexpected, tender, and charming. A quirky sort of buddy story, it takes place on a particularly hectic Halloween. The unlikely pals are neighbors in a trendy California condo complex. Mark is a young, eccentric, hotshot physicist with a chair at Berkeley, a best-selling book, a TV show, and a svelte and understanding patent lawyer wife. Somewhat ashamed of his luck and success and worried that he may have nothing further to contribute to his esoteric field, Mark is nevertheless obsessed with the enigmatic activities of subatomic particles and preternaturally attuned to the fizz and storm of matter beneath its facade of stability. His neighbor Roger, the manager of a failing pizza franchise, is about to be evicted and is still madly in love with his ex-wife. His turbulent life seems to embody the very uncertainty principles Mark ponders. What unites this unlikely duo is the need to defend their property from a bizarre "adverse possession" scheduled to take place at the stroke of midnight; what ensues is a series of magical absurdities and revelations. A delight from start to finish.
From the Publisher
"Hilarious ... gracefully written...[Jones] has created a quirky but wholly real work in which to examine themes of fate and coincidence in a seemingly effortless manner.... Every character can be experienced with shifting feelings of tenderness and exasperation, hope and despair."

— Chicago Tribune

Mark Perdue and Roger Hoberman have nothing in common — except the joy of adjoining yards. Mark is a whiz-kid physicist who knows that his "genius" stature and his endowed chair at Berkeley are bits Of dumb luck; Roger is the owner of a pizza franchise whose luck has turned dumb — in financial and marital distress, he has been denied child visitation rights but not babysitting obligations.

Now luck, in the form of an adverse claim on their property, brings Mark and Roger together for a fateful Halloween night neither of them will ever forget. Loony, humane, and transcendently wise, Particles and Luck is an irresistible comedy of manners and epistemology.

"A lovely and invigorating novel...a domestic farce and social satire. Jones writes [an] engaging novelistic equivalent of a unified field theory — in this case, a link between the human heart and the behavior of subatomic particles."

— Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

"Jones is the real thing — a writer with something to say and his own way of saying it."

— Scott Turow

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307815576
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/08/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,147,404
File size:
2 MB

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