Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Larger City

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:09 AM

By Penelope Lively
229 pages. Viking. $26.95.

Review by Michiko Kakutani
in The New York Times ,
online Jan. 23, 2012

As a historian, Henry acknowledges that he has “a soft spot for what is known as the Cleopatra’s nose theory of history— the proposal that had the nose of Cleopatra been an inch longer, the fortunes of Rome would have been different.” It’s a bit of a reductio ad absurdum, he admits, but nonetheless “a reference to random causality that makes a lot of sense when we think about the erratic sequence of events that we call history.”

What Ms. Lively has done in this captivating volume is to use all her copious storytelling gifts to show how a similar kind of random causality rules individual lives, how one unlucky event can set off unexpected chain reactions, how the so-called butterfly effect— whereby the flapping of a tiny butterfly’s wings can supposedly lead to a huge storm elsewhere in the world— ripples through the ebb and flow of daily life.

Rhetorical question—

"Why walk when you can fly?"
— Mary Chapin Carpenter

Rhetorical answer—

Two excerpts from a webpage on random walks

A drunk man will find his way home,
but a drunk bird may get lost forever.

— Shizuo Kakutani

Now we move to a larger city

IMAGE- 'Now we move to a larger city...' illustrated by 4x4 grid with dots signifying extension of the grid

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress