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Summary

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020

Rachel and Eliza are hoping to have a baby. The couple spend many happy evenings together planning for the future.   

One night Rachel wakes up screaming and tells Eliza that an ant has crawled into her eye and is stuck there. She knows it sounds mad - but she also knows it's true. As a scientist, Eliza won't take Rachel's fear seriously, and they have a bitter fight. Suddenly their entire relationship is called into question.   

Told in 10 interconnecting but self-contained chapters - each from a different character's perspective - and inspired by some of the best known thought experiments in philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind, Love and Other Thought Experiments is a story of love lost and found across the universe.

©2019 Sophie Ward (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Sophie Ward is a dazzling talent who writes like a modern-day F Scott Fitzgerald." (Elizabeth Day) 

"Sophie is an innovative and highly sophisticated writer as well as a talented actor." (Blake Morrison)

What listeners say about Love and Other Thought Experiments

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Clever but incomprehensible

This is read beautifully, but ceases to make sense after chapter 6. There is a fair bit of existential waffle and a smug approach. I am really disappointed as I listened to ‘A Marriage Proposal ‘ and thoroughly admired the authors writing style.
This book is clever, intense, but ultimately irritating, with characters I didn’t particularly like. I do realise this is on the Booker Prize long list,but I cannot recommend it sadly.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Sci-Fi meets philosophy

"If you could assemble a human body from all the right atoms and molecules, would it be conscious or does something else, non-physical need to be added?"

A delicious amalgamation of story and thought-experiments. Not always clear where the thought-experiments end and the stories begin. Thought-experiments are invented in order to consider the validity of alternative solutions to hypothetical situations. Different mutually-exclusive solutions may both both exist. That is the flavour of the book.

An ant burrows into Rachel's eye and from there into her brain. What is the ant doing there, where did it come from? How is the ant going to affect Rachel going forward?

The 10 chapters are almost 10 self-contained stories, but they are both incomplete and linked. Each one doesn't fully make sense as you finish it but a later chapter provides some explanation - retrospectively. This gradual revelation of what is going on is the main joy of this book, so I won't spoil it by offering an explanation here. Just to say that Rachel (not the ant) is the main character running through the 10 chapters, and we only gradually find out who she is. The listener has to wait until chapter 9 for the main explanation.

Audible classify this as "Genre Fiction". I think they wanted it to sound intriguing and to appeal to the widest market possible. I'd classify it as "Science Fiction" - the thought provoking kind.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Clever but dull

This was a bit of a chore for me to be honest. I like a bit of philosophy and bits of this were good. I could imagine it featuring on Radio 4, but I just didn’t feel anything for any of the characters. Really clever though.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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so so

Started off really well but then got confused and seemed to lose its way. Not sure I'd recommend it to anyone. Sorry

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Sci fi

It was really clever, but too clever for me! A set of parralell worlds. But it was nicely done and good to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderfully thought-provoking and captivating

This is a wonderful mix of fiction and philosophy with so many thought-provoking moments.
It's written and read at an easy to listen to pace with an interesting theme and plenty of characters with a great mix of clear, individual voices throughout.
It's a great audiobook for listening to in whopping great chunks as the story unfolds gently in your ears and the chapters fly by.
Sophie Ward's narration sets the pace and tone of the telling and I can't imagine anyone else doing it the same justice she has.
Fantastic book that I highly recommend is definitely a must-have in any audio collection.

1 person found this helpful