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The Explanation for Everything

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


As she did in the bestselling novel A Friend of the Family, Lauren Grodstein has written another provocative morality tale, this time dissecting the permeable line between faith and doubt.

College professor Andy Waite is picking up the pieces of a shattered life. Between his research in evolutionary biology and caring for his young daughters, his days are reassurringly safe, if a bit lonely. But when Melissa Potter—charismatic, unpredictable, and devout—asks him to advise her study of intelligent design, he agrees. Suddenly, the world that Andy has fought to rebuild is rocked to its foundations.

“A well-crafted story of wayward souls searching for forgiveness,  healing and personal truth.” —Family Circle

“Grodstein handles everything with a subtle wit, managing to skewer both  the ultraconservative and the ultraliberal without making either seem  absolutely wrong . . . Reminiscent of Carolyn Parkhurst’s Dogs of Babel.” —Booklist

“Finding or losing God proves to be an equally destabilizing tectonic shift,  and this novel is full of them . . . Their cumulative force will leave you  happily unsteady, and moved.” —The Washington Post

“A master storyteller . . . 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.” —*Ben Schrank, author of Love Is a Canoe

“Engrossing . . . You’ll likely close the book with a new perspective on faith, justice, mercy, and the difficulty of holding a moral high ground.” —Bust

“A novel of ideas and a deeply felt story of love, loss, hope, and the healing powers  of forgiveness . . . A provocative, moving story, and a beautifully written one.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 03, 2013 – A little romance fails to lighten a heavy-handed parable about the limits of belief and intolerance in Grodstein s third novel (after A Friend of the Family). Biology professor Andy Waite, preoccupied with applying for tenure and securing a major grant, is relieved to be teaching his signature biology course, which is called There Is No God. Grieving for his wife Lou, who was killed by a drunk driver, Andy throws himself into his responsibilities and does what he can to keep her killer in prison, but he s lost when it comes to shepherding his two daughters through problems with school and friends. Then transfer student Melissa Potter enlists Andy to sponsor her independent study project about intelligent design. She also babysits for the Waites, bringing her closer to Andy and his family and to changing Andy s mind about the existence of a higher power. The cultural clash engineered by the author opens as fresh and diverting, but gets bogged down in improbable plot turns involving Andy s neighbor and Melissa s megachurch. Heady discussions about God between Andy and Melissa feel as unrealistic as their romance, leaving a void where a lively debate should have been.

Customer Reviews

Love the dad

It wasn't the deftly explored theological conundrums that got me, even though they're the heart of this novel. What I couldn't resist was the depiction of such a tender, honest, and sometimes hapless relationship between the dad and his daughters. What a pleasure to spend time with this quirky, flawed, and bighearted family.

The Explanation for Everything
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Sep 03, 2013
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings