In Meditation on Space-Time, Leonard Seet portrays Father Lawrence's struggle between solitude and engagement to show that no man is an island. The monk's love for his friends Ichiro and Camellia compelled him to confront the evil Jim Whitfield while his desire to contemplate space-time drew him into the cabin in the woods.
Even as Father Lawrence was hearing the stranger's confession, he dreamed of probability waves, black holes and temporal loops. He came to Gilead to search for his friend Camellia, not to hear about this penitent's vices: seducing women, framing rivals and laundering church-funds. After he had chased the penitent through the sanctuary into the church graveyard and lost the man, he found a note that revealed a connection to Camellia.
When he learned that Camellia was pregnant with this man's child, he knew the time to play ostrich was over. But ever since the girl whom he had counseled, committed suicide, he preferred distancing himself from others than engaging their struggles. And ever since falling out with his best friend, he preferred contemplating the duality of space-time to sorting out his own joy and grief and love and hatred. If only he could free himself from his emotional scum... if only he could marshal the courage to polish off his search for enlightenment...
He would discover the hidden identities behind each face and Camellia's helping the villain to bring him down. When faced with betrayal, he would lock himself in his cabin and struggled between retreating to his meditation on space-time and confronting the villain. He would renounce his vow and learn to equate a dollar with a cheeseburger. He would buy a gun without knowing how to load the magazine. He would search for his enemy. But when faced with the gun barrel, Father Lawrence would have to contemplate death... only to hear the three shots that saluted the dark night...
Either mercy or justice; either salvation or friendship. Either choice: a flawed solution for a fallen man in a broken world.
Meditation On Space-Time portrays a man's struggle to discover himself in contemporary society, to sacrifice for his friends, to take the road less traveled. For adult readers who, while sifting through clues to the characters' true identities and hidden agendas, would savor the hero's every morsel of laughter and tear as if it were bittersweet chocolate.
"Leonard Seet has left no literary devices on the table to narrate his tale...I was enthralled by the pure beauty of the writing among all the plot points. The scintillating writing is elegant, pure, grownup, originally cast, heartfelt, intelligent... The writing is simply breathtaking... brilliant bit of poetic science... If you prefer intelligently crafted novels, then do yourself a favor and by all means read this unforgettable novel by Leonard Seet: the writing is to die for." -David Lentz, author, Bloomsday: the Bostoniad
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Meditation on Space-Time is a philosophical novel where the quantum mechanical worldview seeps into everyday life. The Uncertainty Principal, and especially the Many-World Interpretation, colors Father Lawrence’s perception of reality. A world of possibilities at every moment, where the outcome follows stochastic processes rather than deterministic laws. “At the ledge of each instant facing the chasm between one moment and the next, four billion souls awaited renewal and an infinite number of possible worlds anticipated birth. Of all the possible worlds, only one would come to be; and yet an infinite number would open up for the next instant.” But the priest also struggles between the religious life of doctrine and rites and the spiritual life of creativity and mystery, ultimately choosing the latter by renouncing his vow. Like Thomas Merton, he refuses to slaughter his intellect in the name of piety and religiosity. Father Lawrence must tread through the desert of betrayals and losses to reach the oasis of friendship and enlightenment. And enlightenment is what he seeks rather than perfection—for Ichiro—and happiness—for Camellia. In the end, he must accept the loss of his best friend and carry the pain on his solitary journey toward enlightenment, or just old age. Meditation on Space-Time is a novel of love and friendship, of good versus evil and of journeys taken. I recommend it for those who reflect such journeys. The lyrical prose that threads through the characters and their secrets is beautiful and provocative. A memorable novel. Jeffrey Baker
In Meditation on Space-Time, Leonard Seet describes Father Lawrence’s struggle to live in but not of the world. Like Thomas Merton, the physicist-monk sought contemplation while desiring to confront the world. His love for his friends Ichiro and Camellia brought him face to face with the evil Jim Whitfield even while his desire to meditation on space-time drew him into the cabin in the woods. When Camellia went missing, he went to Gilead to search for her, but encounter a whiskey priest and a penitent whose vices included seducing women, framing rivals, and laundering church-funds. And soon discover the link between the latter and Camellia. When he read his high school friend Jim Whitfield’s diary, he began to discover the conspiracy behind his breaking-up with his best friend more than twenty years ago. And found out Ichiro and Camellias had been helping Jim to spy on him. Even as returned to Boston in the rain, his heart ached for lost friendship, again. After he had found out that Camellia was pregnant with Jim’s child, he knew must relinquish solitude and prayer. He locked himself in his cabin for days and decided to renounce his vow. He bought a gun at a Virginia gun show without knowing how to load the magazine. He intended to confront Jim Whitfield. On a rainy night in Gilead’s Whitfield Park, three shots would salute the night and a man would fall into the stream… We find in Father Lawrence traces of Thomas Merton and Brother William in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Through Leonard Seet’s portrayal of the movements of Lawrence’s mind and heart, we dwell into his soul, deep as a dark night. The poetic language in Meditation on Space-Time reflects Lawrence’s interweaving thoughts and entangling emotions. “More than once, the broken moon would cast through the window a silver light and remind me of independent events yielding to their own momentum and interacting under natural laws while my mind would impose happiness, grief, beauty, ruin, justice and chaos.” The stream of consciousness of his meditations on space-time leads me into a spiritual journey through the fabrics of reality. But like a mystery, the reader can sort through the clues to find the identities and schemes of the cast of characters. And Lawrence would seek to outwit his archenemy Jim Whitfield and the Ponzi schemer Donald Larsen. Ichiro is a fascinating character, who is obsessed with seeking perfection through death. A very different philosophy of life from that of Lawrence’s spirituality. Meditation on Space-Time is spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual. But also dark and poignant. It leaves you thinking about the nature of good and evil. And you feel yourself among the autumn foliages relishing their last beauty while the sun sets in the horizon. A masterpiece among literary novels.