Qty:1
  • List Price: $22.00
  • Save: $7.11 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 19 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Discovery of Heaven has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Discovery of Heaven Paperback – November 1, 1997


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.89
$2.86 $0.01

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.


Frequently Bought Together

The Discovery of Heaven + The Assault
Price for both: $26.64

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140239375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140239379
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dutch novelist Harry Mulisch has created an epic tale of love, friendship, and divine intervention in this cerebral story of heavenly influence. On earth, the novel revolves around the friendship of a brilliant, charismatic astronomer and a talented linguist born on the same day. The two men also happen to share a lover, a woman of simple beauty who is a gifted cellist. These relationships, both intellectual and intimate, produce several intriguing conversations about science, art, and theology, and a child of uncertain paternity. The child's birth is closely followed by a number of mysterious accidents, spirited affairs, untimely deaths, and other acts that reveal the influence of higher powers. Quinten, the star-fated child, has a mission from on high to return the covenant God made with man before he was led astray by science and the dark influence of the devil. An engrossing, and at times comic, story of theology and science, angels, and earthly desires, is cleverly told in this hugely ambitious novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a new novel bulging with metaphysical speculation, Dutch author Mulisch masterfully intersperses mathematics, biology, linguistics, numerology, philosophy and theology. When two strangers meet on a cold night in The Hague, Onno Quist, a linguist and politician from a well-to-do family, and Max Delius, an astronomer, have no idea that their relationship will change the course of human existence. Their meeting, however, like many of the momentous events that occur in the novel, is no accident of chance. It is the product of the careful manipulations by two angels acting at the request of God, who, upset that people are on the verge of mapping the genetic code and thus deciphering the secret of creation, desires to wash His hands of His creation. Disgusted with human behavior, the two angels plot to retrieve the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments, thus breaking God's covenant with humanity. The two angels surmise that the 17th-century philosopher of science Francis Bacon made a pact with the devil for which all of mankind must atone?because scientific knowledge quickly superseded humanity's belief in God. The angels contrive a series of complex events involving Onno, Max and Ada Brons, a bright and beautiful cellist, in order to create Quinten, the boy who will be their unwitting instrument for fulfilling God's doomsday plan. As Onno, Max and Quinten think and work through their lives, they arrive, ultimately, at the impossible and forbidden?the discovery of heaven by means of science rather than faith. God has never been so unforgiving. Hope remains, however, that the next fallen angel might be more benevolent than the last. Mulisch, author of the critically hailed Last Call and The Assault, has created a masterpiece that not only brings his characters closer to discovering heaven but also prods them nearer to knowing themselves. Remarkably, he escalates his plot to ever more complex levels of thought without diminishing the strong, suspenseful (and, in Vincent's fluid translation, often funny) narrative thrust. This is novel-writing on a gloriously grand, hubristic scale.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

The sign of an exceptional book, to me, is a feeling of emptiness when you reach the last page.
jgperras@hotmail.com, Justin Perras
Though I don't agree with the way Mulisch portrays God, I sure found it a fascinating approach to how God implements His plans in the world!
Tim Tieleman (tim_tieleman@yahoo.com)
I believe that Mulisch's story just flows a little better; at times I find Irving too contrived, with too much of an agenda.
Henry Slofstra

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Damian Kelleher on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Two angels are conversing. Apparently, Francis Bacon - the 16th century scientist credited with establishing, among other things, the scientific methodology known as the 'Baconian Method' - made a pact with the devil, which caused humanity to lose their way with God, instead embracing the more vapid realm of technological progress; gadgets, as it were. God is convinced that the covenant between heaven and earth is broken and has charged the angels with retrieving the original stone tablets that contain the Ten Commandments as handed down by God to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai. To do this, a perfect human must be created - the angels intervene with twentieth century history to ensure that this occurs.

A complicated setup, to be sure. Happily, for at least the first half of the novel, the heavy theological implications of The Discovery of Heaven do not weigh the novel down. Rather, we are invited into the intelligence, artistic and creative world that is the friendship of Onno Quist and Max Delius.

They were conceived on the same day, but are completely different. Onno is hugely intelligent, but suffers from a mind that is too rarefied for the concrete harshness of the world. A savant when it comes to languages, Onno made his name in the world of linguistics by translating Etruscan. 'It was because I made Etruscan comprehensible. The greatest minds in the world had failed - even Professor Massimo Pellegrini in Rome was too stupid - so I thought I may as well do it.' For now, he studies obscure topics and lives comfortable on the interest from his father's inheritance.

Max Delius lost his parents at a very young age during World War II. His mother was a Jew; she met a predictably sad end in a concentration camp.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Nudehula (karmasoda@hotmail.com) on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mulisch's "The Discovery of Heaven" is a beautiful novel... takes a good while to read and absorb the overflowing imagery and mindblowing brushes with the Dutch intellectuals, but to be simply put, it is inspiring. Max Delius and Onno Quist: bosom buddies (as you will learn upon reading) = the definition of true friedship, or as one may call it, Camaraderie. The travel, theology, science and history contained... enlightening. I may still be overwhelmed by the technique and detail that Mulisch had used to create this masterpiece. For any who have picked this novel up and put it down, I would highly recommend capturing what you have once let slip through your fingers. For potential readers skimming through the Amazon, you will be all the wiser for reading "The Discovery of Heaven".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tina Morris on August 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have read in years. The way it starts off, it reminds you of "it's a wonderful life", because there is these 2 guys in Heaven discussing how they manipulate our fate here on earth. As we leave heaven and enter the story, the characters of Max and Onno immediately involve you. They could not be more different and better matched at the same time and we breathlessly follow them through the beginnings of their friendship and their incredible discussions about life, music, history, philosophy, the universe. This is one of the greatest qualities of this book: in the discussions of Onno and Max, as well as in other casual settings in the book, Mulisch displays an impressive knowledge of history, philosophy, art, and music without ever sacrificing tension in his storyline. The reader just gobbles up this information without ever having the feeling of having been lectured. The story takes some very incredible turns that will make your jaw drop and read even faster, and when it is all over, you will be sorry you finished it so fast and immediately vow to read it again because you ran too fast through all those passages of sheer beauty in thought and writing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
With `The Discovery of Heaven' Mulisch is like an Olympic diver who attempts the most difficult dive imaginable and nearly nails it. Rarely are philosophy, theology, architecture and a host of other subjects presented so vividly in fiction. The introduction to the sweep of Mulisch's thought in the first third of the book left me giddy, not unlike how one feels upon meeting someone whose conversation challenges you to reexamine assumptions from airier heights. Nevertheless, at several of the book's turning points Mulisch seemed somewhat heavy-handed in the way he stretched the work's inner logic. Perhaps he is asking the reader not only to suspend disbelief but to step out of the boat in faith. There's a long stretch in the middle of the book where Mulisch sketches a bit too much detail in preparation for a final crescendo. However, faithful readers who forge ahead will be rewarded. While Mulisch's epic could not quite sustain its page-turning headiness from cover to cover, when I look back at the sparkling insights that Mulisch shared and how this novel covered perhaps more thematic ground than any novel I can recall in the last twenty years, I am left with awe and gratitude for what Mulisch conveyed along the way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Poogy on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Discovery of Heaven having been pressed into my hands by a good friend, and the blurbs on the cover being remarkably glowing, I couldn't wait to dive into it. It's long, but I've enjoyed a number of very long novels.

The relationship between Onno and Max that develops during the first section pulled me in, and I enjoyed the witty repartee and intellectual jousting and theorizing. I looked forward to seeing where this relationship would take me. Certainly, there's plenty of build-up, in the form of angels hinting about the cosmic significance of their machinations through these characters--a device I didn't particularly like or feel added anything to the book's effect.

There are novels that are primarily plot-driven, others that present some very memorable characters, and some that display an unusual facility with language itself. It's nice to have all three, but I'm not sure you can have a really successful novel without having at least one element that's outstanding. I found this one to include a couple of interesting characters, a vague plot that promises more than it delivers, and little in the way of style, although some of that may have been lost in translation.

There was not enough of any of these to sustain my enthusiasm through the book's length, and I found finishing the second half a grind--not so onerous and without its attractions that I didn't finish, but it took continual effort. Once the Max/Onno relationship matures, the pace and interest slow considerably.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?