One of the greatest feelings has got to be reading a book that obsesses you and make you ponder about it for a long time. Thus I am glad that Volpi’s In Search of Klingsor has kept me finding every opportunity possible to read it. During my lunch break, the wee hours of the morning and even sneaking a page while I had two minutes to myself, I did nothing but read this marvellous gem of a novel.
Francis Bacon (no not the scientist of playwright) is a somewhat unlucky physicist, especially in the field of love, however he gets his break and finds himself as a spy for the U.S. government. This is during the second World War so there the government needs people to keep an eye on Hitler’s doings.
After a couple of successes and the end of the war, Bacon has a new mission : to uncover the identity of Hitler’s scientist who goes under the name Klingsor. Along with fellow mathematician Gustav Links, Bacon interviews famous physicists, gets embroiled in a twisted love affair and discovers that his search for the truth is not as easy as it may seem. In the meantime we get glimpses of Links’ (who is narrating the story) own life and how he became the person he is.
You could say that this is a metaphysical detective thriller as through the many plot twists the thriller genre is transcended. Volpi not only focuses on the history of science but we readers also get a thorough timeline of Germany and some of its occupied countries from 1920 to 1947 and some chunks of philosophy as well. It’s also impeccably translated and the whole novel just takes you along for the ride. It is a brainy book but it is far from inaccessible. In fact as a person who was never capable of understanding physics, I was finding Volpi’s explanations of wave mechanics and the theory of relativity digestible and mind enriching.
If you are looking for a stimulating read look no further, this is one book that will stay with you for ages definitely a must read!