At first glance, this is a novel about a slightly absentminded scientist, an expert in string theory. In the early scenes he is traveling with his wife, Ilene, to a conference where he is to be a featured speaker. The time comes for his speaking engagement and he cannot find his notes. However, he manages to get through it without them. While it is unfortunate it hasn’t gone as planned, he never imagines the repercussions. I thought it was cute the way Theodore overanalyzed things in his life, such as the physics of the sunlight striking his wife’s hair, the 400 photons per cubic centimeter of space a remnant of the big bang, or, how many droplets of water struck his body each second he was in the shower. These could be quirks of the very intelligent, but only in retrospect did I realize they were potential signs of dangerous obsession. Watch in horror as Theodore descends into a spiral of misfortune.
I did find it interesting that his wife didn’t seem to realize anything was amiss either. Could it be that she was too wrapped up with her friends and magazines and television shows? Or had she seen this before and learned to remain calm despite what went on in Theodore’s head? Toward the end of the story the reader is allowed to recognize his poor judgment in a number of situations on the day everything came to a head. While you will need to pay close attention to his inner dialogue, this is a fascinating story about circumstances, choices, and consequences.