The Discovery of Heaven is a book which will shake up your brain, even after reading you feel like you’ve learnt a dozen things, unfortunately it makes it more difficult to actually summarise it as the plot is out there.
Superficially two angels shape the destiny of two brainy individuals (max is an Astronomer and Onno is a linguist) and together they both father (yes a woman has sex with both of them) a child who has been chosen to return the ten commandments back to heaven as the human race has not been following them properly.
Yes on paper this sounds absolutely ridiculous and some two-bit author (Dan Brown???) would make a total mess out of a fantastical plot like this but Harry Mulisch is one’s of Hollands leading intellectuals so he pulls and teases the plot into other directions.
Thus the reader gets meditations and theories on the Holocaust, Dictatorships, Art, Architecture, the development of Science, etymology , Ancient Jewish culture and Jewish history. The amazing thing that each page contains a wealth of facts and some brain rattling ideas. These are so entwined with the plot that none of the information presented is padding and furthermore Mulisch is brief and to the point and in its own way The Discovery of Heaven is not a slow nor difficult read.
I loved this novel. Although this summer I read some good ones but none of them stood out like this. I’m still stunned