Mark Perdue has so many problems that when he starts feeling chest pains on the tarmac at LAX, it dawns on him that a heart attack might be an efficient way out. Once an eminent physicist, he hasn’t published or had a new idea in a decade. The younger professors at UC Berkeley pity him, and he’s taken to using the back staircases to avoid their looks, which all seem to be labeling him dead weight. At home, his wife has been inconsolable since the recent late-term abortion of their afflicted fetus. And he can’t deny it any longerhe is decidedly losing his mental faculties to chronic Lyme disease.
Now Mark is visiting Los Angeles with his ambitious daughter, Carlotta, so she can attend a “Celebrity Fantasy Vacation,” in which she is promised three days and two nights of the rock star lifestyle (musical talent not required, promises the brochure). On stage, Carlotta sings her way to a new self-confidence, giving Mark a glimmer of joy in her sense of victory. But then she disappears with her newly acquired paraplegic boyfriend to take an excursion to the Hollywood sign and gets them all arrested, Mark included. Mark now faces a night in jailand maybe a hint of what he really needs to be happy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The novel may be radiant as well as fascinating, but I confess that some of it was above my head. I am not a great student of metaphysics, but the author had me quite interested as he compared the value of a healthy life with that of a handicapped individual and then that of an aborted fetus. But it's all done in such an interesting fashion that I was never bored, just aware that I didn't quite understand it all. The pretext for the story is that a father accompanies his daughter to a fantasy celebrity camp in Los Angeles, where she falls in love- or infatuation- with the handicapped youth who has such an awareness of his carbon footprint and a deep cynicism of so-called normal values. The two get distracted and it is in the finding that the story reaches its high points. One good question- did two and two equal four before the Big Bang? If you have read this far, you need to know that I am probably the last guy who should be writing the first review! This is one intelligent book.
People use a variety of ways to identify themselves. Their profession, their friends and the amount in their bank account are but a few. Mark Perdue defined himself for a long time as a brilliant physicist as did others around him. His colleagues no longer find him interesting and his memory is fading under the effects of Lyme Disease. He was looking forward to being a new father again. The weekend in Hollywood with Carlotta is his time away to process his life and spend time with Carlotta before she becomes independent and leaves home for good.I think anyone who is married or has looked at the state of their life can empathize with Mark's state of mind. Much of the novel is an interior dialogue commenting on the weekend's events. Jones hits on some universal truths.Radiance: A Novel is well written but isn't for the person who wants lots of locations or action in their stories. This would have more stars if I could've connected to any of the characters.