Thinks . . . by David Lodge

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The novels of David Lodge have earned comparisons to the fiction of John Updike and Philip Roth and established him as "a cult figure on both sides of the Atlantic" (The New York Times). Thinks..., his new novel, is a timely and witty story about secret infidelities and the nature of consciousness. The story unfolds in the alternating voices of Ralph Messenger, the director of the Holt Belling Center for Cognitive Science at the University of Gloucester in England, and Helen Reed, a recently widowed novelist who has taken up a post as writer-in-residence at Gloucester. Ralph, who is much in demand as a pundit on developments in artificial intelligence, believes that computers may one day be conscious; Helen believes that literary fiction constitutes the richest record of human consciousness. The two are mutually attracted and fascinated by their differences, but Helen resists Ralph's bold advances on moral principles. The standoff between them is shattered by a series of events and discoveries that dramatically confirm the truth of Ralph's dictum that "we can never know for certain what another person is thinking."

Told with Lodge's inimitable wry humor and elegant style, Thinks... offers both a delightful take on love and life in one of the lusher habitats of middle England and a playful yet searching examination of the complexities of human consciousness.

About David Lodge

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David Lodge is the author of twelve novels and a novella, including the Booker Prize finalists Small World and Nice Work. He is also the author of many works of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction and Consciousness and the Novel.
Published January 1, 2001 by Secker & Warburg. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Thinks . . .

Kirkus Reviews

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Lodge gets good mileage out of a series of writing exercises Reed assigns to her students where they write in the style of a well-known British author;

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The Guardian

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With Messenger - as with all of his heroes, with poor old Swallow and the mighty Zapp, with Vic and Robyn - Lodge has created another quality grotesque, a memorable creature of conceit who confronts and amuses the reader with the vulgarity of being, with the shame of being human, with all the lie...

Mar 03 2001 | Read Full Review of Thinks . . .

The Guardian

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Helen's thought processes are given us in the form of her journal (the only form of writing she has been able to manage since her bereavement), Ralph's as a monologue dictated into a tape recorder, supposedly an experiment in avoiding conscious control of thought to see what emerges.

Feb 18 2001 | Read Full Review of Thinks . . .

AV Club

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Lodge opts for a similar gambit in the new Thinks..., in which widowed novelist Helen Reed, having taken over a creative-writing seminar at the fictional University Of Gloucester, finds herself thrown into the company of Ralph Messenger, a philandering cognitive scientist.

Apr 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Thinks . . .

The Bookbag

I like David Lodge a lot, I like campus novels, and I am very interested in cognitive science for which this book is a decent introduction so I liked this one too.

Nov 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Thinks . . .

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