The Explanation for Everything
At Exton Reed college, biologist Andy Waite is nearing the moment when his life might settle down a bit: tenure is in sight, his daughters are starting to grow up, and he’s slowly but surely healing from the loss of his wife. His life is starting to make sense again. That is, until the entrance of a young student who wants him to direct her independent study. There is nothing inherently threatening about Melissa, a young evangelist hoping to write the definitive paper on intelligent design. And yet she is the catalyst for the collapsing house of cards surrounding Andy as he gradually loses sight of his personal and professional boundaries as well as his moral grounding. As he works with Melissa, Andy, the hardcore evolutionist, finds that everything about his world is starting to add up differently. Suddenly, there is the possibility of faith, but with it also come responsibility and guilt—the very things that Andy has sidestepped for years.
In a command performance, Lauren Grodstein creates a fiercely intelligent story about the difficulty of holding to a moral position. The Explanation for Everything explores the search for meaning that all humans crave, the risks and rewards of faith, and the salvation that love can offer.
Reviews for The Explanation for Everything
“At once a novel of ideas and a deeply felt story of love, loss, hope, and the healing powers of forgiveness, The Explanation for Everything is a provocative, moving story, and a beautifully written one.”
–Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
“Why do any of us act the way we do? Is it our beliefs or our biology that shapes us? Lauren Grodstein considers this eternal question through the story of Andrew Waite, scientist, father, widower. Struggling to raise two daughters, living with the ghost of his wife, facing a test of his faith in science. There are no easy answers here, just the honest complexity of human beings trying their best to be good people. The Explanation for Everything is such a moving, beautiful, and wonderfully funny story that I want you to stop reading this blurb already and get to the book!”
–Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
“Lauren Grodstein proves herself a master story-teller in The Explanation for Everything. The novel tackles the tough topics: healing after loss, the relevance and possibility of the divine in our lives, the gilded shackles of academic life, and life in Southern New Jersey–all while always being terrifically entertaining. I want everyone I love to read it.”
–Ben Schrank, author of Love is a Canoe
“Confident, tender, and engaging, Grodstein’s The Explanation for Everything is not so much a book about ideas, but about the people who believe them: troubled academics, tired mothers, zealous teens. Harnessing the tension between our spiritual and rational instincts, Grodstein explores the dangers of certitude, the power of conviction, and the spiritual quality of love and loss, the way those feelings take us to the very brink of being, of questioning who we are and what we believe”
–Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise