Strange Attractors: Stories

Overview

Rebecca Goldstein's first novel. The Mind-Body Problem, established her as a writer of uncommon talent and versatility. Her most recent, The Dark Sister, caused one reviewer to comment that, "with this book, one has the exhilarating sense of reading a writer who has discovered the full possibilities of her talent." And, as you might expect from a writer trained as a philosopher, Rebecca Goldstein turns the full force of her dazzling energy and intelligence to this, her first collection of stories. These are ...
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1993 Hard cover First edition. 1st printing. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 288 p. Audience: General/trade. HARDCOVER! Out of print! ... Shipping upgrade! Order processed within minutes of your purchase! In business since 1975! Read more Show Less

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1993 Hardcover New 0670846406. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened-276 pages.

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Overview

Rebecca Goldstein's first novel. The Mind-Body Problem, established her as a writer of uncommon talent and versatility. Her most recent, The Dark Sister, caused one reviewer to comment that, "with this book, one has the exhilarating sense of reading a writer who has discovered the full possibilities of her talent." And, as you might expect from a writer trained as a philosopher, Rebecca Goldstein turns the full force of her dazzling energy and intelligence to this, her first collection of stories. These are stories that carry the weight and complexity of novels, whose characters are so beautifully developed that they come to haunt the reader long after the last page has been turned. Only Rebecca Goldstein could give us a heroine who studies the mathematics of soap bubbles - and responds to the rapture of infatuation by reciting Shakespeare in Yiddish. And only Rebecca Goldstein could depict with unswerving accuracy a group of Olympian intellects made childlike by the appearance of a double rainbow in a French sky. These are just some of the marvelous, magical, and unlikely things that happen in Strange Attractors - a collection of stories that reveals the deep, mysterious ties between seemingly unrelated lives. Goldstein is both an immensely gifted writer and erudite philosopher, and her characters think as intensely as they feel. Out of the interaction of thought and feeling, mind and heart, come these seven ambitious and splendidly witty explorations of the labyrinths of consciousness, the fragile mysteries of love, and the forces that - like the mathematical notion of "strange attractors" - bring a secret order to the chaotic randomness of life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nine somewhat cumbersome short stories continue the philosophical musings earlier sounded in Goldstein's novels The Dark Sister and The Mind-Body Problem (see Paperback Forecasts this issue). Here, a predominantly intellectual cast explores the relationships between art and experience, intellect and passion, tradition and ambition. Peripheral links among the various entries, meanwhile, reinforce Goldstein's suggestion of discernible patterns within a world of mysteries. Goldstein adopts playful tactics--a hostile academic audience listens as a character from Vanity Fair delivers a paper on fictional realism in ``The Predicate of Existence''; a 19th-century governess fashions her own gothic romance in ``From Dreams of the Dangerous Duke.'' Another favored subject--a younger generation's response to its Jewish heritage--is explored from opposing points of view in ``Mindel Gittel,'' told by a refugee from the Holocaust, and ``Rabbinical Eyes,'' related by a rabbi's daughter. In general, however, Goldstein subordinates plot, pacing and character development to exposition of her themes; although she tries out different narrative voices , she achieves spontaneity rarely. Pleasure, for the reader as well as the protagonists, is chiefly cerebral. (Mar.)
Donna Seaman
Goldstein's last novel, "The Dark Sister" , was a potent blend of metaphysics and psychology, feminism and Jewishness. Goldstein used this same set of clarifying and revealing lenses when she composed this series of potent short stories. These tales are particularly intense, due, perhaps, to the frequent use of surrogate writers to create a story-within-the-story structure that supports multiple layers of meaning and emotion. The past is real and accessible to Goldstein. In "The Editor's Story," an elderly gentleman tells a young literary scholar about his experience publishing a wildly innovative novel in the early 1900s and his amazement at discovering that the author was a shy, almost nunlike little woman from Pittsburgh. "From Dreams of the Dangerous Duke" is a troubling story about the intense fantasy life of a nineteenth-century governess/bluestocking told through her journal entries. The unpredictability of inheritance is at the heart of several of Goldstein's family portraits. Two tales, the title story and "The Geometry of Soap Bubbles and Impossible Love," explore the relationship of a reticent young scientist with her flamboyant, dazzlingly brilliant, and theatrical grandmother and mother, while in both "Mindel Gittel" and "Rabbinical Eyes," American-born children of Eastern European Jews seem to elude their genetic destinies. A tremendously empathic, knowledgeable, and imaginative set of stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670846405
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Goldstein
Rebecca Goldstein
REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN is the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel and of six works of fi ction. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has received many awards for her fiction and scholarship, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She lives in Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

The Editor's Story 1
From Dreams of the Dangerous Duke 67
The Predicate of Existence 109
Mindel Gittel 125
The Geometry of Soap Bubbles and Impossible Love 161
Rabbinical Eyes 179
My Mother Loved to Dance 217
The Legacy of Raizel Kaidish 227
Strange Attractors 241
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