May 07, 2008

The Philosopher's Apprentice - James Morrow

This book was a bit of a sidetrack in my reading plans - out at the bookshop and it caught my eye so home it came!

I have been tempted to delve into another James Morrow book - The Last Witchfinder and I think after my experience with The Philosopher's Apprentice I will have to give it a go.

The Philosopher's Apprentice was (for me) a cross between a futuristic outlook novel, science fiction, fantasy fiction and several complex ethical dilemmas!

A Philosophy academic (Mason Ambrose) having failed to have his PhD accepted takes on a job on an isolated American island working for a very wealthy woman with a problem - her 17 year old daughter (Londa) has no capacity to reason and act in a moral way. The reasoning behind this problem becomes very clear once Mason arrives on the island and discovers that Londa actually has "sisters" of whose existence she is unaware of. The way these sisters came into existence and the events that follow as a result of their moral education impacts widely and it is these events that cause the reader to really think about some topical societal issues and dilemmas. I found myself having to stop in places and just ponder the issues for a while before I could keep reading.

I find it hard to describe the context of this novel without giving away too much of the plot!

Although this is a genre of book I would not normally read or enjoy I have to say I was really engaged with this story. Although some of the events in the novel are out of the realm of possibility in current society they certainly appear to be a very real possibility in the story and I never caught myself saying "as if that would/could happen".

I will be on the look out for other James Morrow books in the future.


Laura said...

I've never read James Morrow, but this sounds like an interesting book!

Ramya said...

I usually try to stay away from books with "philosophy" anywhere on the front page. But this looks like it will be an interesting read.. thanks!:)

Karen said...

Hi Laura - definitely an interesting and thought provoking book - I'm still thinking about it!

Hi Ramya -I know what you mean. After studying philosophy during first year university I usually try and stay away too but the ethical dilemma thing really interests me.