This impressive debut novel, longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, takes its premise and inspiration from ten of the best-known thought experiments in philosophy—the what-ifs of philosophical investigation—and uses them to talk about love in a wholly unique way.
Married couple Rachel and Eliza are considering having a child. Rachel wants one desperately, and Eliza thinks she does, too, but she can't quite seem to wrap her head around the idea. When Rachel wakes up screaming one night and tells Eliza that an ant has crawled into her eye and is stuck there, Eliza initially sees it as a cry for attention. But Rachel is adamant. She knows it sounds crazy—but she also knows it's true. As a scientist, Eliza is skeptical. Suddenly their entire relationship is called into question.
What follows is a uniquely imaginative sequence of ten interconnecting episodes—each from a different character's perspective—inspired by some of the best-known thought experiments in philosophy. Together they form a sparkling philosophical tale of love lost and found across the universe.
About the Author
SOPHIE WARD is an actor and a writer. She has published articles in The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Observer, The Spectator, Diva, and Red magazine, and her short stories have been published in the anthologies Finding A Voice, Book of Numbers, The Spiral Path, and The Gold Room. Her book A Marriage Proposal: The Importance of Equal Marriage and What it Means for All of Us was published as a Guardian short eBook in 2014. In 2018, Sophie won the Pindrop short story award for "Sunbed." She has a degree in philosophy and literature and a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, on the use of narrative in philosophy of mind.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE POLARI BOOK PRIZE
"Ingenious." —The Guardian
"Intriguing. . . . The author’s grasp on the ideas at play effectively and poignantly connects readers with the characters’ grief." —Publishers Weekly
"A conspicuously erudite, skilfully observed debut novel." —Telegraph (UK)
"Ward has achieved something quite extraordinary: a super-smart, metaphysical romp that's also warm, wistful and heartfelt." —Daily Telegraph (UK)
"The sheer literary ambition on show is impressive, with Ward producing a highly original first novel that also echoes European experimentalists such as Kundera and Krasznahorkai." —Spectator (UK)
"An imaginative and original synthesis of fiction and philosophy" —Irish Times
"Ward is as skilful an observer as she is an abstract thinker, and so her characters, while fulfilling their roles as illustrators of theories, also burst with life." —Sunday Telegraph (UK)
"A refershing puzzle to unpick." —Diva Magazine (UK)
"It’s rare for me to fall for a novel that could be called ‘experimental’ but this genuinely blew my mind." —The Literary Sofa
"A towering literary achievement." —Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things
"Philosophy meets fiction in this beguiling and intriguing novel of minds, hearts, other worlds, love, death and everything in between. It's a book that dances and dazzles with ideas and left me thinking long after I finished it." —Sophie Kinsella