Equilateral: A Novel

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Apr 16, 2013 - Fiction - 207 pages
6 Reviews

Equilateral is an intellectual comedy set just before the turn of the century in Egypt. A British astronomer, Thayer, high on Darwin and other progressive scientists of the age, has come to believe that beings more highly evolved than us are alive on Mars (he has evidence) and that there will be a perfect moment in which we can signal to them that we are here too. He gets the support and funding for a massive project to build the Equilateral, a triangle with sides hundreds of miles long, in the desert of Egypt in time for that perfect window. But as work progresses, the Egyptian workers, less evolved than the British, are also less than cooperative, and a bout of malaria that seems to activate at the worst moments makes it all much more confusing and complex than Thayer ever imagined. We see Thayer also through the eyes of two women--a triangle of another sort--a romantic one that involves a secretary who looks after Thayer but doesn't suffer fools, and Binta, a houseservant he covets but can't communicate with--and through them we catch sight of the depth of self-delusion and the folly of the enterprise.
Equilateral is written with a subtle, sly humor, but it's also a model of reserve and historical accuracy; it's about many things, including Empire and colonization and exploration; it's about "the other" and who that other might be. We would like to talk to the stars, and yet we can barely talk to each other.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - auntmarge64 - LibraryThing

In the late 1800s, Giovanni Schiaparelli's discovery of "canals" on Mars has allowed a (fictional) astronomer to fan interest in Mars into worldwide financial and political support for the building of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaylaraeintheway - LibraryThing

This is a novel about a British astronomer (Sanford Thayer) in the late 1800s who designs and oversees the construction of a giant equilateral triangle in the middle of the desert in order to contact ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
9
Section 3
15
Section 4
18
Section 5
34
Section 6
38
Section 7
46
Section 8
51
Section 17
109
Section 18
117
Section 19
120
Section 20
125
Section 21
132
Section 22
139
Section 23
152
Section 24
159

Section 9
66
Section 10
68
Section 11
74
Section 12
77
Section 13
81
Section 14
88
Section 15
96
Section 16
99
Section 25
164
Section 26
172
Section 27
178
Section 28
185
Section 29
191
Section 30
197
Section 31
203
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Ken Kalfus is the author of two novels, The Commissariat of Enlightenment and A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. He's also published two collections of stories, Thirst and Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His books have been translated into more than ten foreign languages. He lives in Philadelphia.

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