In mid-life, Charles, a mildly successful, divorced professor at a "leafy little college" who has traded his youthful passions for reduced expectations, attends his 30th college reunion. When he sees a model of the campus as it was in his day, he is drawn back into his memories, where his 22-year-old self carries on a passionate affair with a beautiful dancer named Juliana.
Against a backdrop of the 1960s war protests, Charles watches his relationship with Juliana intensify and nearly unravel, mentally traveling from his youthful mistakes to the child they almost had together. As he rediscovers contradictory versions of his past, he relives the hopefulness of youth and examines the nature of memory itself. A physicist and a humanist, Lightman fuses both disciplines into a luminous book.
©2003 Alan Lightman; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.