Psychological Thriller (View all)
Sebastian and Oskar have been friends since their days studying physics at university, when both were considered future Nobel Prize candidates. But their lives took divergent paths, as did their scientific views. Whenever Oskar comes to visit from his prestigious research post in Geneva, there is tension in the air, and it doesnt help their friendship that he feels Sebastian has not lived up to his intellectual capacities, having chosen marriage and fatherhood as an exit strategy.A few days after a particularly heated argument between the two men, Sebastian leaves his son sleeping in the back seat while he goes into a service station. When he returns, the car has disappeared without trace. His phone rings and a voice informs him that in order to get his son back he must kill a man. As Sebastians life unravels, the only person he can safely reach out to is Oskar. Then Detective Schilf comes on the scene, with a most unorthodox method of uncovering the truth. With intelligence, wit, precision, and grace, Juli Zeh crafts a philosophical thriller which uses the clash of the ideal and the material worlds, the bending of reality, and the search for a definition of time to explore the ideas of guilt and innocence and the infinite configurations of love.
Once again I am reading way ahead of the publication date, but this one just kept tantalizing me from its place on the shelf, refusing to politely wait its turn. It proved to be every bit as good as it looked; a brilliant, intense, and exhilarating reading experience. A prize winner in Germany, the book is flawlessly translated, and while the content sounds deep, Zeh has a deft touch, easing the path of a physics ignoramus like myself. The plot revolves around the complex relationship between two physics scholars, once considered potential Nobel prize material. Formerly close as brothers, they remain great friends, but their differing theories concerning the relativity of time have become a source of tension between them. Sebastian, the more affable of the two, has mellowed, married and broadened his outlook, but Oskar, intense and sardonic, has remained within the narrow confines of the university structure. While his wife is on holiday, Sebastian, looking forward to several weeks of solitude to work on his latest theory, drives his young son to camp. When he stops at a service station, leaving Liam asleep in the car, his phone rings; to his horror, he is informed that to get his son back, he must kill a man. He returns to the car park to find that his son and his car have disappeared into thin air. The only person to whom he can turn is Oskar, who advises him to involve the police. In a novel in which the players are few, we are now introduced to two wonderful and original characters; the idiosyncratic and bombastic police woman, Rita Skura, whose judgment is so regularly and reliably wrong, and the brilliant and brainy, but equally eccentric Detective Schilf, who is quick to work out the solution, but completely hopeless when it comes to handling everyday affairs. The Black Forest setting, the witty and incisive writing, brilliant plot, original characters and the profound philosophical content, lift this book head and shoulders above the rest, making Dark Matter one of those great reads which are quite impossible to put down.