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Hunt (The Seas) delivers a breathtaking novel that is both difficult to classify and impossible to ignore. The year is 1943, and famed inventor Nikola Tesla lives quietly in a New York hotel with his memories and his pigeons. However, when an inquisitive chambermaid discovers Tesla's personal papers, she and Tesla form an unlikely bond with far-reaching consequences. The narrative, which relies heavily on interior monolog, alternates between Tesla's personal history and the secret longings of others who were strongly influenced by the great man's inventions. Hunt's deft blend of sf elements and romantic subplots may remind readers of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, while her prose style and attention to historical detail are on a par with Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Hunt's greatest triumph, however, lies in her depiction of Tesla, who wavers between genius and madness with carefully controlled charm. Peppered with literary quotations, historical figures, and subtle eroticism, this book will please readers who enjoy experimentation and uncertainty in both their fiction choices and their worldview. Recommended for medium to large fiction collections.-Leigh Anne Vrabel, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In this quirky novel, Hunt imagines the last days of the eccentric scientist, Nikola Tesla, the inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication. Having shunned fame, fortune, and relationships to work toward the next big invention, Tesla finds himself living alone in the Hotel New Yorker avoiding people, disinfecting everything, and obsessing over towels. Things finally change on New Year's Day 1943, when he comes in contact with Louisa, a curious chambermaid who enjoys snooping in the guests' rooms. When she enters Tesla's apartment, she is immediately taken with his inventions and befriends him. With their shared love of pigeons, Tesla opens up to Louisa about his life from his humble beginnings as a Serb in Croatia to his greatest accomplishments and failures. In the meantime, Louisa struggles with her father's desire to take a ride in a time machine built by an old friend, as well as her own feelings for Arthur, the time machine's mechanic who may or may not be from the future. Oddly charming and pleasantly peculiar, Hunt's novel offers a unique perspective on hope and imagining life's possibilities.--Kubisz, Carolyn Copyright 2007 Booklist
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In Hunt's (The Seas) overstuffed and uneven novel set in New York, circa 1943, an aging Nikola Tesla lives at the Hotel New Yorker and cares for (and chats with) pigeons while planning what could be his boldest invention yet. He forges an unlikely friendship with Louisa Dewell, a 24-year-old chambermaid at the hotel who also keeps a pigeon coop. The book alternates between Niko's reminisces of turn-of-the century Manhattan and Louisa's current domestic dramas; Niko revisits old grievances concerning the usurpation or dismissal of his many inventions, and Louisa gets ensnared in her zany father's mission to travel back in time and reconnect with his dead wife via a time machine built by his lifelong friend Azor Carter. Assisting in the scheme is Louisa's mysterious beau, Arthur Vaughn, who may or may not be from the future. Although many events are drawn from Tesla's life, he and his peers, including Thomas Edison and John Muir, are cartoonish. Likewise, the city backdrop is drenched in rosy nostalgia (even Hell's Kitchen is a quaint neighborhood). Each individual plot thread has potential, but the cumulative effect is dulled by an unwieldy structure. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved