Review of Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation
by: Timothy Ritchey
A few days ago, I finished Mr. g, a fictional account of the creation of the universe, written by Alan Lightman. What drew me to the book (besides the topic itself—always intriguing) was the fact that Lightman is the first dual faculty appointment at MIT in both science and the humanities. As a Physicist and Poet, he’s a natural to tackle the unimaginable.
This is not your Mother’s creation account. For no apparent reason, the cast of characters includes Mr. g (God), who is the nephew of Uncle Deva and Aunt Penelope, all happily residing in the Void for an undetermined period of time, since actual time had yet to be created. These three like to sleep—a lot—until one day, Mr. g decides to make better use of his time and start creating stuff. Besides a girl who steals some food, the only other characters are Belhor and Baphomet, who parallel as the Devil and his sidekick/dog…who really knows? Lightman never sheds much insight on the Aunt/Uncle/Nephew/Devil/Sidekick structure of the characters, which adds to the mysterious layers of his story.
At first, Mr. g goes over-the-top with his creation until his Aunt and Uncle reel him in a bit. When he slows down and places more attention on the detail, he zeroes-in on Aalam-104729, presumably the Milky Way. Aalam-104729 is where the crucible of his creation forms, but all good things come to an end, and eventually the many suns burn out and things return to the void.
As a Physicist, Lightman can go the way of some pretty heady material, and there are certainly glimpses of it here; but can you really take a guy seriously who writes about god’s aunt withholding sex from his immortal uncle? I read a lot and can be pretty hard to please, but anyone who successfully juxtaposes the origins of matter with god’s Aunt’s giddiness over her new dress gets kudos in my book. Mr. g is a great little story and a quick read—I finished it in one sitting. Lightman is a unique character himself and an accomplished writer. To those with an open mind and an insatiable curiosity, I highly recommend this book.