Downloaded Free on 4/12/13
Finish time: 12 nights (minus a few off). This book was loaded. The premise seemed simple, yet interesting. A friend dies and leaves you a choice in his will; 10 million dollars or a sealed envelope. The main character Andrew is faced with this exact choice after his long-time friend Sothum passes away. In order to understand the difficulty of this decision for Andrew (and not for his wife!), we must go back and learn how these 2 (well 3, as we meet Buddy, the final member of the Three Wise Fools) met in college. The three were philosophy students in Boston and spent many a night discussing, debating, and hashing out new and old theories. Fun times.
The book goes back and forth between stories from the past and present time as Andrew dives head first into investigating the life of Sothum aka Stanley Riorden. It deviates in all different directions and at times I wasn’t sure where I was or if I was fully understanding. It caps off with a readme.txt file reminiscent of that never-ending chapter in Atlas Shrugged (if you read it you know what chapter I am talking about!) in which Sothum reveals a lot (we’ll leave it at that!) and helps to tie many things together at the end – which I very much needed.
The main philosophical topic in question is the existence of God (which a quick Google search revealed the philosopher in question was fictional). That was not revealed until later in the book, but that alone would be a very interesting topic. The book doesn’t get too specific on the details of that (as it does get very detailed on just about everything else). But as Sothum’s life work – it is very interesting to see his progress and how he began on this topic and where he ends up.
So overall – I was confused, intrigued, challenged, and entertained. I would recommend, but have some time and an open mind. The conclusion was satisfying, not what I initially wanted, but you have no choice but to be okay with it and move on. I enjoyed getting to know these characters, and I have to say after spending so much time with them – I may have to pick my next book carefully as this definitely broadened my mind!