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The Philosopher's Apprentice: A Novel Paperback – February 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Mason Ambrose, materialist and philosophy student is at a crossroads. His future in philosophy is in jeopardy when he is offered a lucrative job. His task will be to tutor teenager Londa, and provide her with a conscience, for due to an accident, she has amnesia and doesn't know how to act ethically. Mason's acceptance of this role takes him and others on an "odyssey" that the reader doesn't know how or where it will end until the story's conclusion.
The Philosopher's Apprentice contains great philosophical/ethical and political issues and would really appeal to someone who has interest in cloning and genetics(hint, hint.) I don't want to say more and give away any of the twists and turns of this story. I really enjoyed this novel. Good stuff.
Onto the matter at hand. After the meandering, unfulfilling "Witchfinder" where ideas were too simple and plot twists too unnecessary, I was very eager to get my hands on a "The Philosopher's Apprentice". The title alone had me. I cracked it open and the brilliant Morrow of Old had returned and with a vengence! Beautiful sentences and consistently original metaphors continually sprung from the page, some of which made me laugh uproariously and all of which made me remember what a fine craftsman Morrow is with language.
And then. And then the second section of the book began and what was a finely crafted narrative suddenly came grinding to a halt. The plot was nearly non-existent. What was an interesting diegesis with characters I was empathetic towards almost immediately lost my interest. I had no inclination to continue reading. Though, of course, I did.
The final section of the book returns with a plot worthy of the ideas it is designed to convey. The characters, however, don't seem to do much changing and, as another reviewer mentioned, they tend to make decisions that don't align with who I think they are.
And though the final section is good, it is not enough to redeem the plodding, dull and poorly conceived middle section. To be honest, I was glad when the book was done. And though I may read it again in times far away, I am not really looking forward to doing so.Read more ›
It's impossible to talk much about the plot without revealing major spoilers, but genetic engineering is a major theme. The book should probably be classified as science fiction, rather than general modern fiction: there are not any space aliens, but you'll need to be very generous with the author in terms of what you think is scientifically possible. The problem you'll have will be whether you find the actions of the main characters (or other characters) to be believable. There were times when I felt that the actions were reasonable and rational, but at other times I felt quite the opposite.
About halfway through, the novel begins to get rather political--perhaps a bit like 1984 or even more, perhaps, like the movie Brazil, which had a madcap surrealistic quality to it. So what you get is quite a mixed bag! I'll be starting Morrow's The Last Witchfinder soon--this sounds like it will provide an interesting contrast to The Philosopher's Apprentice. So with the latter book, don't begin with many preconceived ideas about what you'll be reading, be patient, and it should be rewarding.
Quetzie the feathered iguana was one bright spot in the book. His spontaneous utterances of "Quetzie is a handsome devil", "Love is all you need" and "Mason is a genius" had me laughing out loud many times. Just as funny but more disturbing were the repeated appearances of Mason and Natalie's aborted and revived (don't ask) son, who shouts out such things as "Tossed away like an orange peel!", "Booted into the abyss!" and other accusatory remarks, disrupting their personal and professional lives. I wish there had been more of these quirky (understatement) characters.
I never warmed up to Londa or Yolly and the Sabachthanites (blindly devoted, militant followers of Londa's peculiar brand of philosophy), who inhabited and defended Londa's palatial compound, were just too over-the-top. If you are a diehard Morrow fan, you may enjoy this more than I did. I won't stop reading Morrow's books, but will try to be more selective next time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Philosopher’s Apprentice is a challenging read, daring the reader to examine philosophical systems as they apply to ethical living. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Elenora R. Sabin
Morrow has written a book of staggering brilliance and imagination. Your brain and your soul will thank you for devouring this tome.Published on May 18, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Very interesting read. If there had been embedded links to references, I'd have never made it through. I recommend it.Published on November 23, 2013 by Azbarite
I first heard about this book from an NPR interview and it sounding fascinating. When I went to a bookstore, I couldn't remember the title or the author but started to describe it... Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by Marion Stein
Filled with philosophical terms, bad writing, and unrealistic, undeveloped characters. The premise is interesting, but the development of the plot is poor; it feels as if Morrow... Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by .
Avoid this one if you want any sort of serious story. This is like someone telling you about their weird dream, and it's boring but you pretend to listen to be polite. Read morePublished on May 5, 2011 by Christy
This was a dime store pick up for me. I have never Read James Morrow, but took a chance on this find. Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by Jennifer Ulrich
What happens when a washed up philosopher takes on the role of educating a woman without a conscious. Read morePublished on April 10, 2010 by Eustacia Vye
In the opening pages of this novel, I thought I was back in the magic land created by John Fowles in "The Magus. Read morePublished on August 8, 2009 by Alan A. Elsner