The Professor of Light
The reason we went to England the first summer, the summer I was ten, lay in a long-ago promise. And a long-ago philospher named Heracleitus.
So begins the journey of Meggie Singh and her father, a charming, befuddled professor of philosophy from the Caribbean. Every summer Meggie and her parents pack up their luggage, leave New York City, and move to the home of Aunt Inez and Uncle Tom in England. There, Professor Singh struggles to write a book that takes on one of the greatest paradoxes to confound thinkers of the twentieth century: the dual nature of light as both particle and wave.
“Taut psychological drama … luminous.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
Each chapter in The Professor of Light is a summer spent in England as Meggie moves from childhood to the brink of adulthood and Professor Singh grooms his daughter in a rich mix of philosophy and Indian-Caribbean storytelling. But Professor Singh is haunted by the past: a promise to his family in Guyana; tales of “the jumbee curse.” As he pushes further into his philosophical search, Meggie must choose how far her devotion will take her.
Light, both particle and wave, comes to resonate with bigger questions of East and West, identity and immigration, being of a place and moving on.
The Professor of Light is a gripping depiction of the intense bond between a father and a daughter — a father who is driven mad in his quest to understand light, and a devoted daughter who risks falling off the edge with him.
“To hear Marina Budhos tell this story is to listen to prose singing in registers of light. What line-by-line, moment-by-moment clarity.”
“Meggie’s unique story, rich with Caribbean superstition, British pragmatism and American ambition.”
Glamour, Best Books of the Month
“This is a must-read book, one to be read slowly, savoured to the last page …”
“An achingly beautiful narrative that resonates with truth and compassion.”
“Haunting and lyrical … Budhos explores the realms of vision, fantasy, and illogic without losing touch with reality.”
—Christian Science Monitor