Remember when you used to hang out at the local boozer hoping to bump into this guy or gal who you couldn’t get out of your head but who refused to do much except play mind games with you? And there, against all the odds, one of those hopeless-making nights, you bumped into the love of your life? Was that destiny, or was it coincidence? Was it electrons set in motion whose path cannot be changed, or did you have free will? These are the questions that are on Gunnar Gunderson’s mind as he leaves the cosy familiarity of physics and maths and enters the unknown territory of love.
Gunderson is a physicist at the University of Wisconsin, in the heart of the Midwest, where Jello layer-cake is the local culinary delight, and people say “I-Rack” instead of Iraq. He has just made tenure. His research is going places. He is a superstar teacher. But he’s just come to the realization that his life is pretty darn empty and he has just three days of leave in which to find his soul-mate. There starts a hilarious frenzy of speed dating, hair-colouring, and asking all and sundry the unanswerable question, “What do women want?” The quest brings him in contact with more women than he has seen the backsides of in years, but this makes him feel constantly on the verge of vomiting.
And he fell. He had no parachute. He sailed through a layer of clouds, then a layer of blue sky, then a layer of clouds as if he was jumping through a parfait, and at each cloud level, a holographic sense of a naked woman waved at him in a way that said, ‘See you soon.’ Were these women about sex or about death?
Gunderson asks himself this question as his mind gets more fogged by sex than a horny teenager’s and his whole being is taken up by his hopeless search. Can Newton and Einstein help him along his way? Can his co-researchers offer him words of wisdom about sex and orthodontics? And will it all happen for him, or is he doomed to spend the rest of his life playing with abstractions?
Christopher Meeks’s story is the kind that new writers love to hear. He used to work in publishing, and then later, in public affairs at CalArts. His second novel, Love at Absolute Zero, found the one thing you’re told you need in order to make it big – a New York agent who believes in your writing. But no publishing house wanted to touch a novel that combined the seeming incompatibilities of quantum mechanics and love. More than two years later, Meeks decided to bring the novel out under his own indie imprint White Whisker Books, and the book went on to win the Best Indie Romance Award and many rave reviews.
It may be a bit of a cliché to say that publishers find it hard to commit to comedic fiction, but there it is. Meeks’s novel is evidence that good writing is turned down more often than brussels sprouts at Christmas dinner if the concept sounds too quirky for the mainstream market. The novel isn’t flawless. Ursula’s character seems underdeveloped – she is more a two-dimensional fantasy cooked up by a physicist, sometimes, than a real woman. The ending is a tad rushed. But, on the whole, the book is a hilarious read.
To see book at Amazon, Click Here
Causes Christopher Meeks Supports
Associated Writing Programs