Things have been going pretty badly for Theo Bernstein. An unfortunate accident at work has lost him his job (and his work involved a Very Very Large Hadron Collider, so he’s unlikely to get it back). His wife has left him. And he doesn’t have any money.
Before Theo has time to fully appreciate the pointlessness of his own miserable existence, news arrives that his good friend Professor Pieter van Goyen, renowned physicist and Nobel laureate, has died.
By leaving the apparently worthless contents of his safety deposit to Theo, however, the professor has set him on a quest of epic proportions. A journey that will rewrite the laws of physics. A battle to save humanity itself.
This is the tale of a man who had nothing and gave it all up to find his destiny – and a doughnut.
Find the book here on Goodreads.
I’m just going to come right out and say it. This is one of the weirdest – and yet, totally and utterly readable – books that I have ever read. And you should know, I’m not a stranger to weird books. Like many people, I do a lot of my book shopping online these days, whether I’m shopping for eBooks or cheap paperbacks, the internet is there to provide for me. Last weekend, however, I was in the mood to buy a book from an actual bookshop, and this is what I came away with. I was sucked in my the title, the cover, the blurb and the opening paragraph. But I’m not exactly a hard sell when it comes to wacky books written with an often intelligent and dry humour.
I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy many, many years ago and have silently judged people who haven’t read it ever since. I jest, but it’s one of those books that feels like prerequisite reading in order to know me. Doughnut is written in the same vein. It’s like the lovechild of Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde and Kurt Vonnegut (er… kind of.) and it brings you a whole new breed of ridiculous brilliance. It’s weird and wacky and full of amazing one liners. I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t like it… and I can see, if not accurately articulate, why I do.
Long story short, this guy (Theo) blows up a Large Hadron collider and, after being ostracised, is bequeathed by his dead mentor a means to experience any reality he can imagine – kind of like a new virtual reality toy, except that these realities are, for lack of a better word, real. So there’s a bit of conspiracy, long lost dead brothers and crazy sisters, not to mention the telepathic Martians, Papacy, and – hands down the weirdest chapter of a book I have ever read – the planet of sentient and kind of evil Disney creatures. (“No, Piglet, no.”) Oh, and if you’re wondering where doughnuts come into the story, the way to exit any alternate reality is to look through the hole of a doughnut (or bagel!). Because, you know, why the Hell not?
I don’t know. Look it up. Read the first page. If it takes your fancy, give it a go. I admit, I was thoroughly confused in places, but not for one minute did I want to put that book down.