Literary (as opposed to philosophical) interests led me to begin reading the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein. One day over lunch, Rasan suggested that I read Ray Monk’s biography of the Austrian philosopher. I put the book on my very long list.
Today, I read a piece in the Guardian about Ray Monk’s new biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Monk’s title is what caught my eye: Inside the Centre.
Two things draw me to this biography of Oppenheimer: the title and the subject matter. While I’ll be working on my current book, Discontent, for the foreseeable future, that hasn’t stopped me from sketching out plans for my next book which will have a five part structure, each part corresponding to a literary city. The third, and central part, of my probable next novel is about New York and will bear the title, The Center.
Ten years ago, right after I moved to Long Island I began reading everything I could get my hands on about the development of the atomic bomb. My plan was to use that research to provide context (and content) to a novel I thought I was going to write set (at least in part) in Los Alamos. I still haven’t written that novel. Perhaps the subject is too big. But, as I read Stuart Jeffries article in the Guardian I started thinking about that unwritten book of mine. Oppenheimer was born in New York. That’s one connection. And Oppenheimer’s project at Los Alamos was called Manhattan. Perhaps, Oppenheimer and his bomb will find their way into The Center.