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The Stonehenge Letters by Harry Karlinsky
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The Stonehenge Letters

by Harry Karlinsky

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What if Alfred Novel beside the usual prizes also had a "secret" prize for whoever could explain the origin of Stonehenge?

A psychiatrist stumbles over some letters from Nobel laureates with explanations for Stonehenge when he is researching why Freud never got a Nobel Prize.


Harry Karlinsky has really written a book that feels like it could be real. It really feels like reading a thesis and I had to double-check to see that this was fiction. Just to be sure. LOL I mean it sounded ludicrous, but hell, who knew.

The problem I had with this book was the thesis feeling. It made it very dry to read. The part of the book I liked best was actually the biographical part, getting to know the basic fact about Alfred Nobel, Marie Curie, Teddy Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling. The whole Stonehenge part, the letters from the Nobel laureates was the dry part that and that was unfortunate since that is kind of the point of the book.

But the book was interesting to read and I would very much read more about Alfred Nobel.

I received this copy from Coach House Books through Edelweiss in return for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Very original, interesting and entertaining ( )
  ElAlce | Jun 14, 2015 |
I read this book as an advance reading copy provided by Edelweiss, and I have shared my comments with the publisher via that web site.

The fictional conceit here--that Alfred Nobel endowed a separate, secret prize for whomever could solve the "mystery" of Stonehenge--is rather clever. But the execution is half baked, and I felt cheated by the end (which actually comes halfway through, as much of this book is appendices, footnotes, and acknowledgements). Also I had Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge" song running through my head for the duration of the book, but I am not sure if that is a virtue or a fault. Not recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | Nov 12, 2014 |
This story is about Alfred Nobel setting up in will a prize for solving the mystery of Stonehenge. It all begins when a doctor in Sweden discovers a folder called "the crackpot files".
many notable people submitted their theories to the committee but no one ever one.

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review*** ( )
  druidgirl | Oct 23, 2014 |
The Stonehenge Letters is a remarkable creature: sort of a hybrid history/science mockumentary. I have never come across another book like it. I’ve read short pieces of science satire or humor, but Karlinsky sets up his joke and maintains it through two hundred and fifty-six engaging pages.

The premise behind the book is this: After establishing the Nobel prizes, shortly before his death Nobel funded a one-time prize for the “solving of the Stonehenge mystery.” The competitors for this prize were limited to the first decade of Nobel prize winners, a group that included the likes of Marie Curie, Rudyard Kipling, and Ivan Pavlov.

The book is written as carefully produced non-fiction and includes a variety of forms. There’s a narrative of the discovery of this competition by a psychiatrist searching the Nobel archives in an attempt to understand why Freud was never granted this honor. The book is peppered with documents: wills, photos, and the like. And the fun only increases when it moves on to texts of the articles written by the various Nobel laureates who competed for the prize.

The fun of this book lies in its seriousness. If it weren’t for the subject matter at hand, one would be hard pressed to accept the fact that it’s fiction. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Oct 16, 2014 |
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When Alfred Nobel died he famously left funds in his will for the creation of the various prizes which now bear his name. What most people don't know is that he also invited winners of the prizes to put forward a theory for the existence of Stonehenge. Who put these mysterious stones there? And why? In 'The Stonehenge Letters', Harry Karlinsky explores the background to this unusual request and shares the theories of Rudyard Kipling, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and other well-known Nobel Prize winners. But is this fact or is it fiction?

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