This review of ANTIPHONY by Chris Katsaropoulos completely captures the complexities and nuances of this exceptional novel. Grady Harp is an Amazon Top Ten Reviewer, poet and retired surgeon. We’ve posted an excerpt and link to the full review here, but also include the review in its entirety as it, too, is beautiful and eloquent.
“[An] epic poem cum novel, ANTIPHONY by the author Chris Katsaropoulos, [is] a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time – that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts – to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature – James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Tolstoy, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, Melville, and Conrad. [Katsaropoulos’s] grasp of physics is astonishing as is his ability to phrase theory in a manner comfortably decipherable. His deep entrenchment in literature and in music blossoms on the pages frequently. His grasp of the manifold variations of human relationships breathes of psychology breeding with philosophy. But most of all it is the serene beauty of his writing that mesmerizes and results in starting the book again once finished that proves this is a man of letters who has an enormous gift and future.”
~ Grady Harp, Literary Aficionado, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer
Purchase Your copy at the Luminis Books website
‘The book of revelations is a secondary symptom of a madman; only those who are insane can know beyond the solipsism of this world’
Occasionally a diamond so settled in the crust of the earth can go unnoticed, perhaps lacking the light it requires to send dazzling prisms to the eyes of the chaotic mass of shufflers preoccupied with the instant gratification of technologies competing with the air itself for push-button attention. Such is the case with this epic poem cum novel ANTIPHONY by the author Chris Katsaropoulos, a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time – that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts – to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature – James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Tolstoy, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, Melville, and Conrad are a few that come to mind. It is presented in four chapters, best described as a quatrain. Written in 2011 it now comes to our attention in a new edition courtesy of Luminis Books, publishers of meaningful fiction, knowing that the book deserves wide attention.
Chris Katsaropoulos’ mind is so attuned to poetry, classical music, metaphysics, physics, science in general and man’s search for meaning that his book has portions, not unlike cadenzas in a piano concerto where the artist takes a pause from the orchestral score to expound on a note or phrase or thought that shows muscular and spiritual dexterity before returning to the work as a whole, that sing like few other authors can write. It is this gift that Katsaropoulos displays in this masterful work: while weaving a richly imaginative story he perseverates on a thought, relishing the character’s time and the reader’s indulgence to delve deeply into thoughts not usually found within the covers of a novel. His ability to sculpt words into topics as disparate as quantum physics to classical music to the poetry of the institutionalized poet Christopher Smart (1722- 1771) as set by Benjamin Britten in his antiphonal Rejoice in the Lamb to the cadences of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in performance to biblical tales and Greek mythology to the atmosphere of a Midwestern February churchyard silence or the suffocation of a California scientific gathering – his skill remains secure.
Quite briefly stated the story is the progress of Theodore Reviel, a String Theory physicist from a highly regarded Midwestern Institute, who has flown with his wife Ilene to California to present a much anticipated scientific paper on the Perturbation theory (Perturbation theory comprises mathematical methods for finding an approximate solution to a problem, by starting from the exact solution of a related problem) that in the company of the String Theory should lead to the explanation of everything. Prior to his presentation he has a dream or a dreamlike state in which he envisions the coming apart of all scientific fact and all his thoughts are replaced by the possibility that his equations are unsolvable, that the universe is nothing more than a giant thought, that thought leading to the possibility that God is the meaning of everything. In a stupor he inputs his response on his cell phone email, awakens and is off to his presentation. But at this presentation he realizes he has lost his notes, irretrievable after attempts to recover them, and he faces his erudite audience of scientist and inadvertently shares `If the universe really is nothing more than a giant thought, a though projection emanating from some form of consciousness, and we are living within this projection, it would be impossible to discover the source of this projection by examining the projection itself in finer levels of detail…These unsolvable terms in our equations may be roadsigns pointing to consciousness – to God – as the missing piece of the puzzle.’ And his private email notes are broadcast to all scientists in attendance and at home in the Institute.
His audience is outraged, his boss Victor who has been grooming him to take over as head of the Institute department fires him, his best friend (and competitor for the position) Pradeep moves into first choice place, and Theodore leaves the Institute, afraid to tell his wife he is without a job, all of which sends Theodore out into the cold February night to seek solace with nature. He encounters a broken down church where the antiphonal strains of Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb are being rehearsed, meets a former brief female acquaintance in a steeple, and begins to feel what life is like without the institute, without science, with only stream of consciousness thoughts that some may consider madness, others may consider entry into mysticism, others may hear the echoes of what life is really all about – the elusive Final Theory.
Chris Katsaropoulos wastes no words, even when he is streaming thoughts that at first feel dissociative or so far beyond the limits of the reader’s mind that they are impenetrable. His title tells us much: `antiphony’ – responsive alternation between two groups especially of singers – could represent the actual experience of hearing the Britten choral work in the old wreck of a church, the polar opposites of science and theology, the disparity between inner mind functioning our verbal communication of consciously filtered thoughts, and probably more variations on that theme. His grasp of physics is astonishing as is his ability to phrase theory in a manner comfortably decipherable. His deep entrenchment in literature and in music blossoms on the pages frequently. His grasp of the manifold variations of human relationships breathes of psychology breeding with philosophy. But most of all it is the serene beauty of his writing that mesmerizes and results in starting the book again once finished that proves this is a man of letters who has an enormous gift and future.