Soho’s Luminarium has received yet another insightful and positive review in Sunday’s New York Times from Christopher R. Beha. Beha calls Alex Shakar’s novel compelling, comparing it at times to the films Inception and The Matrix. Shakar’s novel is already complicated by alternate realities, artificially induced religious experiences and disembodied family members. To this, Beha’s article brings the ideas of William James and his opinions, contrary to many who see religious experiences as symptoms of brain trauma or dysfunction and then dismiss the concepts as past mistakes of no value.
Beha seems to find those demanding concepts at odds with the novel’s attempt to entertain at times, but concludes that while there is quite a lot going on within the story, Shakar’s talented writing holds the book together. Clearly, there is a lot to learn from Luminarium, which is as full of entertainment as it is of revelations.