Dominic Smith

the beautiful miscellaneous [Atria Books]

Books Reviews Dominic Smith
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Dominic Smith

Synesthesia, love’s redemptive genius

In Dominic Smith’s second novel, 17-year-old Nathan Nelson

, of sensitive temperament and above-average intelligence, is held as an emotional hostage to his physicist father’s expectations of genius. A car accident unexpectedly leaves Nathan with a rare case of the neurological condition known as synesthesia. Suddenly experiencing a wild mingling of the senses, and able to memorize prodigious quantities of information, from city phone books to entire dialogues on television sitcoms, Nathan’s hapless outpouring of seemingly inapplicable genius inspires his father, incurably ambitious for his son, to place Nathan in a small Midwestern research institute for diverse geniuses.

Among this eclectic, bizarre colony of neurologically tweaked savants, Nathan matures, securing his own niche among a constellation of freakish but sympathetic characters, including a medical intuitive, a blind musical prodigy and an autistic calendar calculator. Returning home, Nathan helps his father meet his own premature fate, and between the brain-damaged and the brain-exceptional, the qualities of the heart—forgiveness, compassion and simple love—prove the noblest, most redemptive genius of all.