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Love At Absolute Zero Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: White Whisker Books (July 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098363291X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983632917
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,144,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gunnar Gunderson will pull at your heartstrings and make you laugh at the same time. I dare you not to cheer for him."- Diana Raabe, The Raabe Review


"It is a given, now, that Christopher Meeks is a master craftsman as a writer.... [The novel] is a gift--and one of the many that continue to emerge from the pen and mind and brilliant trait for finding the humor in life that makes him so genuinely fine a writer." -Grady Harp, Amazon Top-Ten Reviewer

"As engaging as it is amusing, Love at Absolute Zero is, ultimately, a heartfelt study of the tension between the head and heart, science and emotion, calculation and chance." -Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews

"It is impossible not to like Gunnar Gunderson." -Sam Sattler, Book Chase, who made it TOP-10 Best Fiction 2011

"A deeply resonant read that manages to be funny without sacrificing its gravity. Highly recommended!" -Heather Figearo, Raging Bibliomania

From the Author

Be truthful and follow your vision is what I learned in doing this. I went through five drafts over five years, and it still wasn't right--close, but not it; I could feel that. I let the book sit a year and tried once again, working with a great editor who sensed my vision.

It was published in September 2011, and at the end of the year, it earned Top Ten Best Fiction 2011 from Book Chase. It won a 2011 Noble (not Nobel) Award at MyShelf.com, and it was selected Top Three Best Romance 2011 at Red Adept Reviews. It's not your usual romance, but it's a lively love story where physics swirls into it.

My writing fits into its own niche. I'm thankful for those who discover my work and enjoy it.

--Christopher Meeks

More About the Author

Christopher Meeks was born in Minnesota, earned degrees from the University of Denver and USC, and has lived in Los Angeles since 1977. He's taught English at Santa Monica College, and creative writing at CalArts, UCLA Extension, Art Center College of Design, and USC. His fiction has appeared often in Rosebud magazine as well as other literary journals, and his books have won several awards. His short works have been collected into two volumes, "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea" and "Months and Seasons," the latter which appeared on the long list for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He's had three plays produced, and "Who Lives?: A Drama" is published. His focus is now on longer fiction. His first novel is "The Brightest Moon of the Century," and his second, "Love At Absolute Zero."

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
Characters showed genuine human emotions, which added to the intensity of the story.
J. Chambers
I couldn't help but root for lovelorn scientist Gunnar Gunderson as he searched for true love to complement his Physics tenure.
Reader
I loved the book so much I bought five copies to give to family and friends for Christmas!
I.Lobben

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Abel G. Peña on November 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
After enjoying Christopher Meeks' cleverly self-deprecating short story collection The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, I decided to pick up his novel Love at Absolute Zero. I was not disappointed. The story, focusing on good-natured, if haphazard, physicist Gunnar Gunderson's search for love (utilizing the tried-and-true tenets of the scientific method, natch), is an absolute rip. Here are some of the finer points (spoilers ahoy):

1. The premise itself already had me hooked, but the introduction is remarkably strong. The use of a dramatic flashback to begin the story in the middle of a dire scene is brilliantly pulled off, immediately getting the story's meat hooks into the reader and never letting up.

2. All the portions of the book spent explaining and analogizing scientific concepts into layman terms seemed particularly inspired, given the difficulty of the ideas. The section detailing Gunnar's course introduction for non-science majors felt honest and *alive*. If I had been in his class, he definitely would have convinced me with that lecture to stay.

3. The moment Gunnar realizes that his old school crush Ursula is "the one" exemplifies the ability of Meeks to really create a moment on the page. "She looked pleased, and as he stared into her blue eyes, he fell into their wonderful vortex, a swirl of feeling and meaning as if he was in another person's entire nervous system." Holy s***. That gave me goose bumps, and reminded me of exactly what it feels like to be in love.

4. There are also tons of hilarious moments. One of my favorites of these is when Gunnar attends a party with old friends and goes into the explanation of his atomic work on absolute zero. The snarky rejoinder, "Hey!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By EarthDog Hilo on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had great hopes for this "literary comic fiction" and wish it had fully lived up to them. The first third of the book is quite enjoyable, but it sagged so badly in the middle that I put it down for several weeks and might not have picked it up again except that the main character, Gunner Gunderson, was appealing and I wanted to see how things worked out for him. They did, but slowly, and with very little of the initial humor that had won me over in the early chapters.

The writing is sometimes lovely, even moving, but too often takes on a dryly clinical tone which may be appropriate for a physicist's viewpoint but doesn't do much to engage the reader. Other reviewers have liked the Denmark chapters, but for this reader the travelogue aspects are more instrusive than evocative, Gunnar's moping goes on far too long, and too many minor characters are introduced to little effect.

IMO the novel would have been better (and tighter) had Gunnar stayed in Wisconsin. The strongest scenes are those Gunnar shares with his research partners and family, a supporting cast who are sadly lacking from the middle of the book. When Gunnar does return home to at last find the love he's been looking for, things pick up again, although the ending was so abrupt I clicked "next page" expecting a final chapter still to come.

In spite of these weaknesses, there is much to like here. The author deftly integrates just the right amount of science into the story, and Gunnar's wistful musings on love and physics are endearingly quirky. On the whole the novel is charming, and if it had kept my interest better through the middle it would have earned a solid 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an objective review.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MJ Guthrie on September 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The idea of using scientific method to find romance seems a challenging premise for a novel. Christopher Meeks accomplishes that, and then some.

We start by following Gunnar Gunderson in his life as a physicist/professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is smart, creative, has a sense of humor, but is essentially a really competent professional science nerd. His lab partners clearly fit the same mold. They research "ultracold," trying to get atoms as close as possible to absolute zero. Dense, complicated, challenging stuff. When he is awarded tenure, Gunnar decides it's time to find love and marry. Also dense, complicated, challenging stuff.

Naturally, his inclination is to apply scientific method to this challenge, since that method has proven successful in his work. Also, minor detail, since he has deadlines to meet, he wants this to happen in three days. At this point the narrative goes from cute and amusing to hilarious. His attempts to define who he wants, improve his appearance, and focus his search is inventive, surprising, very funny, and, somewhat a surprise to this reader, really sweet.

Besides a smart and sensitive plot with wonderful characters, Meeks is also a gifted writer of prose. His descriptions of place and emotion are quite touching, and sometimes striking, as when we describes snow in Denmark as "coming down slowly like a mother's wishes on her newborn child."

As Gunnar's wisdom grows with experience, frequently aided by pain and humiliation, his search becomes increasingly touching, and we find ourselves completely swept up in his admittedly bizarre path to romance. I loved this book much more than I planned to, starting it expecting a fun but ultimately lightweight read.
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