ONE OF THE MAJOR POST-WORLD WAR II EUROPEAN WORKS OF LITERATURE AND AN INTERNATIONAL BEST-SELLER FROM THE AOUTHOR OF THE WIDELY PRAISED THE ASSAULT AND LAST CALL
The Assault was a "triumph," wrote The New York Times Book Review; a powerful portrait of "moral devastation revealed with X-ray cunning." Last Call was hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as "impressive, subtly constructed and elegantly written...rich in scenes of great beauty and emotional power." Now Harry Mulisch has given us his magnum opus. In this rich mosaic of twentieth-century trauma, characters embody variations on friendship, loyalty, family art, history, technology, religion, fate, good and evil to compose that rare literary phenomenon - a novel of ideas that also tells an excellent story.
It is a tale in which two friends stand in contrast. On a cold night in Holland, Max Delius - a hedonist, yeat a rhetorically brillian astronomer who loves fast cars, nice clothes, and women - picks up a hitchhiker, Onno Quist, a cerebral, chaotic philologist who cannot bear the banalities of everyday life. They are like fire and water. But soon after they learn that they were conceived on the same day in 1933, it is clear that something special, even extraordinary, is about to happen.
One is haunted by the furure, the other by the past. Both are caught up in the exhaustin gstruggle against forces beyond their control. Max and Onno are inseparable...until Max meets the beautiful and gifted cellist Ada, and introduces her to Onno. At the center of their relationship lies the battle between humanistic values and technological progress...and an especially radieant child, Onno's son, Quinten. Quinten's sublimity - in his beauty, intelligence, wand demeanor, - becomes even more apparent when, after the heavens conspire agains Onno and Max, Quinten embarkes on a journey that can only be completed by a child with his incredible gifts.
Abounding in philopophical, psychological, and theological inquireies, yet laced with humour that is as infectious as it is wilful, The Discovery of Heaven lingers in the mind long after it has been read, offering itself up to many interpretations over time. Mulisch's magnificent work makes us, his readers, believe that it is possible to bring order into the chaos of the world through a story.