Lightning by Jean Echenoz
A Novel

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Drawn from the life of Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors of his time,
Lightning is a captivating tale of one man’s curious fascination with the marvels of science.

Hailed by the Washington Post as “the most distinctive voice of his generation,” Echenoz traces the notable career of Gregor, a precocious young engineer from Eastern Europe, who travels across the Atlantic at the age of twenty-eight to work alongside Thomas Edison, with whom he later holds a long-lasting rivalry. After his discovery of alternating current, Gregor quickly begins to astound the world with his other brilliant inventions, including everything from radio, radar, and wireless communication to cellular technology, remote control, and the electron microscope.

Echenoz gradually reveals the eccentric inner world of a solitary man who holds
a rare gift for imagining devices well before they come into existence. Gregor is a recluse—an odd and enigmatic intellect who avoids women and instead prefers spending hours a day courting pigeons in Central Park.

Winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Echenoz once again demonstrates
his astonishing abilities as a prose stylist as he vividly captures the life of an isolated genius. A beautifully crafted portrait of a man who prefers the company of lightning in the Colorado desert to that of other human beings, Lightning is a dazzling new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary authors.

About Jean Echenoz

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Jean Echenoz worked for several years as a child psychologist before turning to fiction writing. In addition to his numerous articles and short stories, he is the author of eight novels and a pamphlet on Éditions de Minuit founder Jérôme Lindon. Most of his books are "exuberant spoofs" (Atlantic Monthly) of the espionage thriller, including Cherokee, big Blondes, and Double Jeopardy, all f which are available in English translation. In 1983 he was awarded the Prix Medicis for Cherokee. He currently lives in Paris, France. Mark Polizzotti is a prize-winning translator, and the author of eight books, including Revolution of the Mind: A Life of Andre Breton. His translations include works by Jean Echenoz, Paul Virilio, Jean Baudrillard, Raymond Roussel, Maurice Roche, Gustave Flaubert, Jen Senac, and the Surrealists.
Published June 7, 2011 by New Press, The. 146 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lightning

Kirkus Reviews

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Morgan turns him loose after Marconi appropriates his patent for radio, the result of a dirty trick perpetrated by Gregor’s nemesis, a nobody called Napier.

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Publishers Weekly

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Born during a lightning storm "somewhere in southeastern Europe" in the mid-19th century, Gregor has many wonderfully inventive ideas from an early age—a rapid mail tube running under the Atlantic Ocean, harnessing the power of Niagara Falls for energy—and soon the bright young engineer lands...

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

It’s Echenoz’s narrative voice, his teller-of-tales, present-tense chatty voice, a self-deprecating, friendly “I” that does the trick, completely engaging the reader like a Donald Barthelme, matter-of-fact Jiminy Cricket on-our-shoulder guide as we watch Gregor bumble on his picaresque journey th...

Jun 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning: A Novel

The Coffin Factory

Gregor is subsequently exploited by the greed-driven capitalists who use his benevolent ideas and inventions to secure immense profits for themselves while paying Gregor peanuts.

Sep 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning: A Novel

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