From the Giller Prize–winning novelist of 419 comes the startling, funny, and heartbreaking story of a psychological experiment gone wrong.
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.
The Shoe on the Roof is an explosively imaginative tour de force, a novel that questions our definitions of sanity and madness, while exploring the magical reality that lies just beyond the world of scientific fact.
Received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review.
This book begins with Thomas being forced to go to church by his girlfriend, Amy, and then immediately after she takes a pregnancy test that comes up positive. Of course they can’t have a baby, and Thomas tells her straight out he knows someone who can get rid of it, and she kicks him to the curb with nothing more than the toothbrush she uses to scrub between the tiles.
A lot of the beginning of the book is spent explaining how brains work. Thomas doing social experiments on his own, then later trying to figure out how the brain perceives god, wondering why that can’t be recreated in a lab, and then creating a sort of “God helmet” and doing more experiments to simulate the feelings of religion. He’s determined to figure out how it works. His father wants him to make something of himself, lie he did, and he’s not going to let everyone watch him fail.
Thomas is curious about those people who think they’re Jesus. He’s met three of them out of nowhere and it goes along well with his study of religion on the brain. He wants to fix these people, and find out what makes them the way they are while he’s doing it. He’s found his break. At first he only wants to do it because of the girlfriend he lost, thinks it will win her back. For selfish reasons. But then his scientific curiosities kick in and this story is just so refreshing and different than all the other books I’ve read lately.
I absolutely loved every bit of this. The ending took a turn I never expected. The characters changed so much throughout the book. It took me a little bit to actually get into it, but once I was I couldn’t put it down. The characters are realistic, the story is interesting and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things I was reading. I’m so glad I read this book. I definitely recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
Here’s a link to buy the book on amazon.
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