A heartbreaking and moving story about a daughter's quest to discover the truth about her father's hidden past.
Ada Sibelius is raised by David, a single father and head of a computer science lab in Boston. Homeschooled, she accompanies her loving father - brilliant, eccentric, socially inept - to work every day. By 12 she is a painfully shy prodigy.
At the same time that the lab begins to gain acclaim, David's mind begins to falter, and his mysterious past comes into question. When her father moves into a nursing home, Ada is taken in by one of David's colleagues. She embarks on a mission to uncover her father's secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. Eventually Ada pioneers a type of software that enables her to make contact with her past and to reconcile the man she thought she knew with the truth.
Praised for her ability to create quirky and unforgettable characters, Liz Moore has written a piercing story of a daughter's quest to restore the legacy of the father she desperately loves.
"In her third novel, Moore delivers a striking examination of family, memory, and technology…Moore's exploration of David's decline is remarkable and heartbreaking, and she shifts gears deftly as the story is complicated further: when Liston tries to become Ada's legal guardian, questions about David's identity arise.... Mysteries build, and Moore's gift for storytelling excels. This is a smart, emotionally powerful literary page-turner." (Publishers Weekly)
"Moore's third and perhaps most ambitious novel is large in scope, as it explores the philosophical issues surrounding human vs. computer consciousness, but it is also a small-scale, powerfully local story about a young girl.... Moore's vivid characters will stay with readers long after the story has ended. Highly recommended for literary fiction enthusiasts, with crossover appeal to sf fans." (Library Journal)
"Intelligent and brilliantly absorbing.... Filled with achingly memorable scenes...and beautifully nuanced writing, Moore's latest is a stunner in its precise take on identity and the compromises even the most righteous among us must make to survive life's challenges with grace." (Booklist)
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Ada Sibelius, What a Magnificently Drawn 14-Yr-Old
- W Perry Hall ""There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays"
Appreciated but Not Enjoyed
I'm not sure where to begin. I respect Ms. Moore's tackling the idea, the premise, the story layers, however felt at times I was listening to a YA book...perhaps because the young Ada was well drawn and quite likable. I found the language uncomfortably stilted...which had its justification, but for me was a constant distraction and caused the often very slow pace to further lose momentum. This tale might be better told in cinematic terms with visuals replacing many of the repetitive computer and coding references. Typically I am sad when a book ends even as I am compelled to listen and reach the conclusion, but I could not wait to get to the end of those one. It was work.
I'm not sure! I think I might carefully read other listener and reader comments first!
Modulated / Editorial / Directive
I'm sorry to say, for me, no. I wish I could have spent those hours in the company of characters I cared more about. But, I felt I should see this one through for some reason. Maybe because there was an underlying earnestness and I appreciated the effort to construct the story, but I frequently found myself checking how long there was left.
- Margot T.