Antiphony

Antiphony


Chris Katsaropoulos

What if the universe is really a giant thought?

 

Theodore Reveil is one of the leading lights in String Theory physics, on his way to present his latest research at a triumphant meeting of his colleagues from around the world, when he realizes he has lost the notes for his presentation.

At the podium, in the midst of his distraction and confusion, he poses the question: “What if the universe, instead of being a giant machine, is really a giant thought?”

Then he crosses a line which he can never step back over again, saying, “The infinities and singularities in these equations may be telling us that what we are missing is unknowable in terms of physical science. These unsolvable terms in our equations may be roadsigns pointing to consciousness—to God—as the missing piece of the puzzle.”

Antiphony traces the downward spiral of Theodore’s career in the wake of what he has said, and the remarkable transformation that leads him into the depths of madness . . . or the revelation of the Final Theory, the ultimate secret of the universe.




Hold on to your chair or you will be totally transported out of your comfort zone by local author Chris Katsaropoulos' new novel. "Antiphony" (Luminis Books) does what is title intends -- it ensnares you with "alternative or responsive ideas or opinions." The juxtaposing takes place in the mind of Theodore Reveil, described as "one of the leading light in String Theory." It doesn't matter if you haven't the foggiest idea of what String Theory is or whay anyone wants to debate its virtues or vices as the definitive answer to what holds our universe together. What does matter is that you will fall down a metaphorical rabbit hole alongside a scientist driven to prove his theory. When the glow of surety is clouded by doubt, Reveil, pun intended, gets unstrung. "Antiphony" follows in the wake fo Katsaropoulos' mesmerizing first novel, "Fragile" (2009), a collection of fragments spoken by three voices that eventually cohere in an unexpected way. The lyrical writing in "Antiphony" deftly dances between Reveil's meandering thoughts and the world in which he is moving about. It starts with Reveil wondering: "What id the universe, instead of being a giant machine, is really a giant thought?" It ends with a shocking revelation about one human in the pursuit of one truth. Katsaropoulos is an emerging fresh literary voice not to be overlooked. ~ Rita Kohn, NUVO Magazine

"[An] epic poem cum novel, ANTIPHONY by the author Chris Katsaropoulos, [is] a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time – that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts – to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature – James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Tolstoy, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, Melville, and Conrad. [Katsaropoulos’s] grasp of physics is astonishing as is his ability to phrase theory in a manner comfortably decipherable. His deep entrenchment in literature and in music blossoms on the pages frequently. His grasp of the manifold variations of human relationships breathes of psychology breeding with philosophy. But most of all it is the serene beauty of his writing that mesmerizes and results in starting the book again once finished that proves this is a man of letters who has an enormous gift and future."~ Grady Harp, Literary Aficionado Blog, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer, Poet

Mark Twain once said that "When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." That succinctly stated thought is at the heart of the new Chris Katsaropoulos novel, "Antiphony." This is a complex and challenging story that revolves around the books's central character Theodore Reveil, "one of the leading lights in String theory physics," a contender for the explanation for everything. Through Theodore, the author compels the reader to wonder if we are not all mad scientists whose lives are our laboratories where we experiment to find life's meaning and a way to embrace it. The story begins with Theodore, on his way to present his latest research to an assemblage of his colleagues from around the world, discovering that he has lost the notes for his presentation. Unbeknown to the reader is that from this point forward, Katsaropoulos is about to take them along with Theodore to uncharted, unimaginable and incomprehensible territory of the mind. In presenting Theodore's state of mind, Katsaropoulos' stream-of-consciousness style and the alternation between Theodore's seemingly clear, albeit quirky thoughts and the incoheretn, often unfathomable expressions of his dissociateve world, creates a powerful, excruciating portrait of an individual in the midst of a meltdown to madness. As the story progresses, visions and dreams begin to dominate Theodore's mind. In describing on of these dreams the author writes"...Everything collapses into nothing, and everything that makes him who he is is gone completely. He is drawn within and lifted within; he is every reason and no reason at all." Katsaropoulos' distinctive, mesmerizing cadence further adds to the ethereal feeling of these passages. What I found most engaging about "Antiphony" are the questions it raises. For scientists, questioning is critical to finding possible explanations. And so it is for the reader of this book. Antiphony's greatest relevance is derived from the questions it cannot answer. For example, Theodore poses the unanswerable question "What if the universe, instead of being a giant machine, is really a giant thought?" Katsaropoulos raises many intriguing questions that offer metaphysical food for the mind. The ultimate questions "Antiphony" poses for the reader are: What if Theodore is mad? What if, indeed, we are all? Read the book! The story is fascinating and the writing is powerful and poetic. ~ Joseph Yurt for Reader Views and in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"With the debate between supporters of evolution and creationism (recently highlighted by Bill Nye and Ken Ham), Antiphony is an intriguing timely tale. As readers observe the protagonist's everyday life, we wonder whether Reveil's revelation means he is losing his mind or finding a spiritual awakening that will ultimately lead him to the asylum or the Universe's Final Unified Field Theory. Fans who prefer something offbeat will appreciate Chris Katsaropoulos' profound character study of a physicist on the brink of discovery, insanity or both."

~Harriet Klausner, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer

Antiphony is, in many ways, an awe-inspiring novel. It was, I think, written in awe. Awe of science and reason. Awe of intuition and faith. Awe of one and the may, unity and diversity. Writer Chris Katsaropoulos has a way of delving deeply into what seem like small moments-the whole novel takes place in just three or four days-and capturing all their nuances and vibrating tension. Throughout "Antiphony," the protagonist (a physicist researching string theory) experiences dreams and visions that fill pages the way a flash flood fills a ravine-a torrent of words flowing into the space between the margins and pressing onward to the next page and the next.. It makes me wonder how he did it.

~ Al Riske, author of PRECARIOUS STORIES OF LOVE, SEX AND MISUNDERSTANDING and SABRINA'S WINDOW

FULL REVIEW BY GRADY HARP, Literary Aficionado Blog, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer, Poet

`The book of revelations is a secondary symptom of a madman; only those who are insane can know beyond the solipsism of this world'

Occasionally a diamond so settled in the crust of the earth can go unnoticed, perhaps lacking the light it requires to send dazzling prisms to the eyes of the chaotic mass of shufflers preoccupied with the instant gratification of technologies competing with the air itself for push-button attention. Such is the case with this epic poem cum novel ANTIPHONY by the author Chris Katsaropoulos, a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time - that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts - to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature - James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Tolstoy, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, Melville, and Conrad are a few that come to mind. It is presented in four chapters, best described as a quatrain. Written in 2011 it now comes to our attention in a new edition courtesy of Luminis Books, publishers of meaningful fiction, knowing that the book deserves wide attention.

Chris Katsaropoulos' mind is so attuned to poetry, classical music, metaphysics, physics, science in general and man's search for meaning that his book has portions, not unlike cadenzas in a piano concerto where the artist takes a pause from the orchestral score to expound on a note or phrase or thought that shows muscular and spiritual dexterity before returning to the work as a whole, that sing like few other authors can write. It is this gift that Katsaropoulos displays in this masterful work: while weaving a richly imaginative story he perseverates on a thought, relishing the character's time and the reader's indulgence to delve deeply into thoughts not usually found within the covers of a novel. His ability to sculpt words into topics as disparate as quantum physics to classical music to the poetry of the institutionalized poet Christopher Smart (1722- 1771) as set by Benjamin Britten in his antiphonal Rejoice in the Lamb to the cadences of Grieg's Piano Concerto in performance to biblical tales and Greek mythology to the atmosphere of a Midwestern February churchyard silence or the suffocation of a California scientific gathering - his skill remains secure.

Quite briefly stated the story is the progress of Theodore Reviel, a String Theory physicist from a highly regarded Midwestern Institute, who has flown with his wife Ilene to California to present a much anticipated scientific paper on the Perturbation theory (Perturbation theory comprises mathematical methods for finding an approximate solution to a problem, by starting from the exact solution of a related problem) that in the company of the String Theory should lead to the explanation of everything. Prior to his presentation he has a dream or a dreamlike state in which he envisions the coming apart of all scientific fact and all his thoughts are replaced by the possibility that his equations are unsolvable, that the universe is nothing more than a giant thought, that thought leading to the possibility that God is the meaning of everything. In a stupor he inputs his response on his cell phone email, awakens and is off to his presentation. But at this presentation he realizes he has lost his notes, irretrievable after attempts to recover them, and he faces his erudite audience of scientist and inadvertently shares `If the universe really is nothing more than a giant thought, a though projection emanating from some form of consciousness, and we are living within this projection, it would be impossible to discover the source of this projection by examining the projection itself in finer levels of detail...These unsolvable terms in our equations may be roadsigns pointing to consciousness - to God - as the missing piece of the puzzle.' And his private email notes are broadcast to all scientists in attendance and at home in the Institute.

His audience is outraged, his boss Victor who has been grooming him to take over as head of the Institute department fires him, his best friend (and competitor for the position) Pradeep moves into first choice place, and Theodore leaves the Institute, afraid to tell his wife he is without a job, all of which sends Theodore out into the cold February night to seek solace with nature. He encounters a broken down church where the antiphonal strains of Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb are being rehearsed, meets a former brief female acquaintance in a steeple, and begins to feel what life is like without the institute, without science, with only stream of consciousness thoughts that some may consider madness, others may consider entry into mysticism, others may hear the echoes of what life is really all about - the elusive Final Theory.

Chris Katsaropoulos wastes no words, even when he is streaming thoughts that at first feel dissociative or so far beyond the limits of the reader's mind that they are impenetrable. His title tells us much: `antiphony' - responsive alternation between two groups especially of singers - could represent the actual experience of hearing the Britten choral work in the old wreck of a church, the polar opposites of science and theology, the disparity between inner mind functioning our verbal communication of consciously filtered thoughts, and probably more variations on that theme. His grasp of physics is astonishing as is his ability to phrase theory in a manner comfortably decipherable. His deep entrenchment in literature and in music blossoms on the pages frequently. His grasp of the manifold variations of human relationships breathes of psychology breeding with philosophy. But most of all it is the serene beauty of his writing that mesmerizes and results in starting the book again once finished that proves this is a man of letters who has an enormous gift and future.

Antiphony blends reality and non-reality in a fabulous way. There are dreams and visions, there’s science and of course the piece itself is fiction but could be a real story theoretically. Interesting!
~Diary of a Smart Chick

“The writing style was superb, and my head was spinning with fodder. Watching Theodore’s life crumble before his eyes, and his inability to cope (or perhaps ability to see more clearly for a different audience) was heart-breaking, maddening and incredible to read. The book was expertly written, made me think, and wasn’t just another piece of fiction. The events aren’t real, but the feltlike they could be.”
~Naimeless

"Chris has delivered a truly poignant story where nothing is as it seems. This is definitely a book I’ll be sitting down to read again sometime soon."
~Lissette E. Manning

"This was one of those books that make you question everything you know about science and the Earth. It reminded me of The Matrix. I believe that we do not know the exact ways that the Ice Age happened or the answers to physical science. What if we are not right about pi, or what if Einstein was off by one digit? I really liked this book, and I am giving it a 5/5."
~Deal Sharing Aunt

“I enjoyed this book a lot. Antiphony is super smart but also accessible. It delvesdeeply into scientific theory as well as philosophy and some psychology but useslayperson language and felt really accessible to me.”“The writing style reminds me of Milan Kundera. I’m a huge fan of Kundera’s work… so this is a big compliment. I think Kundera has a really unique voice andstyle that I never see anywhere and Katsaropoulos has a similar quality that lentsome magic to the reading for me. Antiphony blends reality and non-reality in a fabulous way.”
—Kathryn Vercillo, Diary of a Smart Chick

“Antiphony is a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time—that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts—to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature—James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Tolstoy, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, Melville, and Conrad are a few that come to mind.” “Katsaropoulos’s grasp of physics is astonishing as is his ability to phrase theory in a manner comfortably decipherable. His deep entrenchment in literature and in music blossoms on the pages frequently. His grasp of the manifold variations of human relationships breathes of psychology breeding with philosophy. But most of all it is the serene beauty of his writing that mesmerizes and results in starting the book again once finished that proves this is a man of letters who has an enormous gift and future.”
—Grady Harp, Amazon Top 10 Reviewer, Literary Aficionado

“With the debate between supporters of evolution and creationism (recently highlighted by Bill Nye and Ken Ham), Antiphony is an intriguing timely tale. As readers observe the protagonists everyday life, we wonder whether Reveil’s revelation means he is losing his mind or finding a spiritual awakening that will ultimately lead him to the asylum or the Universe’s Final Unified Field Theory. Fans who prefer something offbeat will appreciate Chris Katsaropoulos’ profoundchaaracter study of a physicist on the brink of discovery, insanity or both.”
—Midwest Book Review

“I liked the wide range of influences and topics apparent in this book—classical music and music theory, string theory, poetry, literature, mythology, spiritualismand religion. The author took all of these and used them to weave a descriptive cloak around the characters and plot. The book was well paced and used numerous literary devices to great effect. Theodore’s… visions seemed to be expressed in a stream of consciousness manner, with thoughts and images coming out roughshod and disorganised, in a rapid, rambling fashion and a blurring together of ideas… They reminded me of the style of many passages in James Joyce’s Ulysses.”

"I would recommend this book if you are interested in the science and God question. If you enjoy literary fiction, combining poetry and prose, that deals with deep philosophical questions about the Universe in which we exist, and indeed about existence itself, then you will surely enjoy this book.”
—Julian Froment, Life, Literature and Lewd Comments



DOWNLOADSDiscussion Guide
Discussion guide created by author, Chris Katsaropoulos, to guide the reader in examining the themes and symbolism in ANTIPHONY.

Chris Katsaropoulos is the author of more than a dozen titles, including the novels, FRAGILE and ANTIPHONY and UNILATERAL, ENTREVOIR and the poetry collection, COMPLEX KNOWING. He has traveled extensively in Europe and North America, and enjoys collecting books and music.



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Hardcover9781935462026$18.95
Paperback978-1-935462-33-0$16.95
E-Book9781935462552$9.95
CategoryLiterature
ImprintLuminis Books
Publication Date2011-10-15
Publication StatusIn Print
Trim Size5.5 x 8
Page Count204
 

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