Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder

(note: max might have reviewed this already, in which case here's another point of view)
originally written in the norwegian language, the novel has since been translated and published in 42 languages. disguised as fiction, the book relates the history of philosophy and the many different teachings of philosophers. it’s philosophy made easy. so easy it can be understood and appreciated by teenagers. i believe the author’s main goal was to make philosophy accessible to the young.

in the story, sophie meets alberto knox who becomes her philosophy teacher. as they discuss philosophy, they begin to realize that they are only characters in a book written by a certain major albert knag – the book being the major’s birthday present in the “real world” to his daughter, hilde. so in a sense, the major’s creations – sophie and alberto knox – develop their own independent minds. and this i think serves a double purpose of providing an interesting twist to the story while at the same time telling us that pondering on the meaning of our existence is what philosophy is all about.

rating: 5 of 5 stars * * * * *
“an unexamined life is not worth living.”


rob said...

What's the twist? I need to know!

roehl said...

i already mentioned the twist: sohpie and alberto knox, the characters created by major albert knag (who himself is just a character in the book) decided to rebel against their writer as it was hard for them to accept that they were not real. but how can they do so when every move and thought they make is dependent on the major's pen?

rob said...

Very interesting. I'll get this book. I searched around and found some discussions of it in other sites, but stopped reading so I don't find out any more spoilers and lose out on the fun.

I noticed they made a Norwegian movie that wasn't well received. I'm sure a Hollywood movie based on the book would be a huge hit. Some people compare the book to other movies such as 'Before Sunrise', etc. which I've got to check out also.