Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love At Absolute Zero: Nerd On The Prowl

"If Einstein could have sex, love and physics, so could I," intones our nerdy protagonist Gunnar Gunderson partway through Christopher Meeks' indie romp, Love at Absolute Zero. But the question is, can he really?

We spend the whole novel with Gunnar, a 32-year-old physics professor at the University of Wisconsin trying to find out. Early in the novel, Gunnar is granted tenure and decides it's time to find a wife. Luckily, that same day, he runs into a high school crush, and he's certain they are meant to be together. But alas, she has a boyfriend -- she met at a speed dating event. And so Gunnar decides to try speed dating as well (that's some impenetrable logic, if I've ever heard it), but not before he does some serious self-renovation. And then, of course, things go a bit awry.

Gunnar's an infuriating fellow -- you often want to reach into the novel and slap him around. But his missteps are hilarious, and it makes for a goofy, lighthearted read. To be fair, this novel's never going to win a Pulitzer Prize, and Meeks won't soon be confused with Philip Roth. Indeed, much of the comedy in the novel is probably unintentional on Meeks' part -- like a sex scene described thusly: "Their hands again traced each other. With fingers and oral stimulation, they satisfied each other." That's giggle-worthy on a number of levels.

But you know what? Overall, I liked it. Gunnar sure is a dumbass, but he's definitely of the "lovable loser" variety. And he learns from his mistakes, which is a commendable quality in a protagonist, even one as ignorant in matters of the heart as Gunnar is. Overall, it's a breezy read not to be taken too seriously, because, really, it can't be.

Three-and-a-half stars.


  1. Ok, that is too bizzare, I know a guy with that exact name and he is, shall I say...'Intellectual.'
    Interesting read.

  2. Good to see you enjoyed this book. I really didn't.

  3. Maybe I should grab this book. It looks like a good piece of consolation for a hopeless single like me who's gone so far as to browse a top dating site but still not getting any prospects i like.