There's a subtle brilliance in the pages of Scott Hutchins' debut novel A Working Theory of Love. With such a title you'd worry that the book is overambitious, seeking to explain the grandest of all human emotions in its three-hundred some pages. Thankfully, Hutchins avoids any simple answers or universal truths but instead explores the emotional journey of one man, thirty-something Neill Bassett Junior. The arc of the book is plotted through Neill's relationships, romantic and familial.
Neill is in many ways an emotional failure, already a divorcee and unable to truly connect with anyone. He struggles to understand why his dead father was so distant, which becomes central to the book as he works every day with a computer programmed with years of his father's journals, effectively recreating his father's memories in an attempt to create artificial intelligence. This distance is something that Neill himself reflects in his relationships with women, but thankfully he starts to grow and change in a very real and organic way through the course of the book. A sort of 'coming-of-maturity' tale as opposed to simply coming-of-age, A Working Theory of Love mixes the melancholy with a smart sense of humor, creating a very human story intermingled with just a tinge of sci-fi.
Tim @ Central