Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press
Review of Thinks... by David Lodge. Reviewed by Michael Dirda. The Washington Post, 3 June 2001.
Dirda endorses the novel as another good book by Lodge, who is known for his portrayals of academics at work and play. The reviewer likes the devices Lodge uses to let us know the thoughts of the characters---tape-recordings by a science professor, journal entries by a creative writing professor, and narration in the third person---and thinks they are effectively used to unfold the plot. Dirda writes that the intellectual banter in the book is well-done, but thinks some of the dialogue is "info dumping". "At one point, Ralph takes Helen to see a mural depicting celebrated thought experiments, including the Prisoner's Dilemma ... He explains nearly all of them. Though the mural is a shrewd device, the scene nonetheless feels overly didactic... For instance, when Ralph mentions Penrose, he means Roger Penrose, the real life mathematician and theorist of mind, while Helen immediately thinks of Robyn Penrose, a literary critic (and the heroine of Lodge's Nice Work)". Overall the reviewer "thinks" the book is well-paced, thought-provoking, and "altogether packed with good things."
Thinks... was also favorably reviewed by Lisa Zeidner ("Very Artificial Intelligence") in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, June 10, 2001.
--- Annette Emerson