"You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it." Albert Einstein
It is ten minutes past six by the invisible clock on the wall. Minute by minute new objects gain form. In the dim light of morning the young patent clerk sprawls in his chair, head down on his desk. For the past several months, he has dreamed many dreams about time. His dreams have taken hold of his research. But the dreaming is finished. Out of many possible natures of time, imagined in as many nights, one seems compelling. Not that the others are impossible. The others might exist in other worlds.
The patent clerk is Albert Einstein. In his dreams he imagines new worlds, in which time can be circular, or flow backwards, or slow down at higher altitudes, or take the form of a nightingale. Einstein's Dreams is a literary adventure, one which Salman Rushdie has compared to Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities.
"a dazzling first novel . . . Lightman is exploring fiction's deep space, taking us further than we are used to being taken. It is playful, poignant, intimate . . . cool, languid, intelligent, and quotable." -- The Sunday Times (London)
"By turns whimsical and meditative, playful and provocative, Einstein's Dreams pulls the reader into a dream world like a powerful magnet. As in Calvino's work, the fantastical elements of the stories are grounded in precise, crystalline prose. As in Jorge Luis Borges's ficciones, carefully observed particulars open out, like doors in an advent calendar, to disclose a magical, metaphysical realm beyond." -- The New York Times
"a wonderully odd, clever, mystical book of mediations on time, poetically spare and delightfully fresh" -- The Chicago Tribune
" [Lightman] is an artist who paints with the notion of time; he makes a delicate link between its philosophical and its existential meanings. Time weeps and laughs in the perplexed inhabitants of his fables." -- The Los Angeles Times