I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Ever since his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life has been on a downward spiral. A gifted med student, he has spent his entire adulthood struggling to escape the legacy of his father, an esteemed psychiatrist who used him as a test subject when he was a boy. Thomas lived his entire young life as the “Boy in the Box,” watched by researchers behind two-way glass.
But now the tables have turned. Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are three homeless men, all of whom claim to be messiahs—but no three people can be the one and only saviour of the world. Thomas is determined to “cure” the three men of their delusions, and in so doing save his career—and maybe even his love life. But when Thomas’s father intervenes in the experiment, events spin out of control, and Thomas must confront the voices he hears in the labyrinth of his own mind.
Will Ferguson once again creates a very readable novel with so many ideas going on in it that it left my brain whirling! And yet, it all worked together and wasn’t confusing or overwhelming. All the ideas that he played with fit together nicely—what is mind? Is religion still relevant? Is science where its at? He even threw in that old “nature vs. nurture” idea.
Thomas Rosanoff is our main character—raised by his father as an experiment after the death of his mother. (There are echoes of the urban legend about B.F. Skinner’s daughter). Thomas is maybe-brilliant, but definitely one of the most self-centred characters I have ever met, but I felt that he meant well. He did want to help people, if only for his own ends.
The coming together of the three mental patients, all of whom believe themselves to be Jesus Christ, could have been very sacrilegious, but despite Thomas’ very materialist views of the world, the mind and the soul, it remains human and even funny. There was a point, when Thomas’ domineering father became involved, when I almost quit reading—I found it painful to see him being overwhelmed yet again by the great man. I’m glad I pushed on and finished the novel, however, as it left me with a glow of good feelings.
Read for my 2018 PopSugar Challenge, a book about mental health.