Nobel Peace Prize

9 March 2017

A journey through political fantasyland from the incredible to the inexplicable

William Wright, an undistinguished employee at a green startup in Cambridge, is awakened early one morning by a call from Norway informing him that he won the Nobel Peace Prize. The call sounds like a hoax and is unlikely to reshape Will’s future. But it immediately changes his past as he reimagines everything by amended standards. In the 24 hours that pass before the Nobel Committee makes its official announcement, as clues that Will may indeed have won the Nobel Prize multiply, what started out as incredible gradually becomes inexplicable.

What at first appears as a morality play, turns out to be a foil for the political-philosophical web the narrative weaves right through the characters’ fibers – or maybe the other way around. The author walks a fine line between parody and reality as it takes on democracy, government, big data and its hearing aid (the Internet of Things), sustainable energy, chess, haiku, music theory and more. The book raises urgent questions, such as: Who should be allowed to govern? What do the “Ode to Joy” and the “Blue Danube” have in common? What is the difference between aristocracy and elites? Why is the wolf in LRRH scary? When are genius and insomnia synonymous? Whom do representatives represent?

If ultimately the book fails to satisfy, failure to satisfy may be its motif, in which case it does satisfy in an unsatisfactory sort of way. To quote a haiku by one of the characters: “Welcome to the new age where less is more and nothing is everything.”


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