The idea of using scientific method to find romance seems a challenging premise for a novel. Christopher Meeks accomplishes that, and then some.
We start by following Gunnar Gunderson in his life as a physicist/professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is smart, creative, has a sense of humor, but is essentially a really competent professional science nerd. His lab partners clearly fit the same mold. They research "ultracold," trying to get atoms as close as possible to absolute zero. Dense, complicated, challenging stuff. When he is awarded tenure, Gunnar decides it's time to find love and marry. Also dense, complicated, challenging stuff.
Naturally, his inclination is to apply scientific method to this challenge, since that method has proven successful in his work. Also, minor detail, since he has deadlines to meet, he wants this to happen in three days. At this point the narrative goes from cute and amusing to hilarious. His attempts to define who he wants, improve his appearance, and focus his search is inventive, surprising, very funny, and, somewhat a surprise to this reader, really sweet.
Besides a smart and sensitive plot with wonderful characters, Meeks is also a gifted writer of prose. His descriptions of place and emotion are quite touching, and sometimes striking, as when we describes snow in Denmark as "coming down slowly like a mother's wishes on her newborn child."
As Gunnar's wisdom grows with experience, frequently aided by pain and humiliation, his search becomes increasingly touching, and we find ourselves completely swept up in his admittedly bizarre path to romance. I loved this book much more than I planned to, starting it expecting a fun but ultimately lightweight read. Inside, I was amused and moved by Gunnar's adventures.
I don't give five stars just because I like a book, but usually have to be able to see more than entertainment to give that rating. Absolute Zero turned out to be great entertainment, but also much more. I'm now a Meeks fan.
Causes Christopher Meeks Supports
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