The Universe in a Day The History of a Man
By J.J. Rose
JJ (James) Rose is a journalist, author, communications and media specialist, academic, and former political advisor who has worked in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia.
He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Far Eastern Economic Review, Al-Jazeera, The Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, and the South China Morning Post, amongst others.
He has worked as a global media advisor for Morgan Tsvangirai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Vaclav Havel, and the Burmese Government in exile, and was Advisor to the former Special Humanitarian Envoy for the World Food Program, Hon. Abdulaziz bin Mohamed Arrukban. In recent years, he has taught Journalism at Brisbane’s Griffith University.
During a Covid lockdown, “Walker. I”, an apparently normal man, mid-fifties, decides to become insane. He is unsure about what this means or even why he feels the need to do this. But, it is driven by his need to connect, emphasized by Covid isolation. And, perhaps his relationship with “the author” has something to do with it.
He starts to walk. Somewhere. On his journey, we meet many people, both of Walker’s contemporary time and place and of others. Each is able to inform the protagonist’s narrative and his attempts to unravel the points of connection that exist between humans, other living beings and inanimate objects.
An important aspect of Walker’s mindset is what he calls his “Theory of Atomic Memory.” This idea draws broadly from the quantum theory concept of valency, the mysterious interconnectivity of the atoms from which all matter is built, including, of course, all living things, and the fact that atoms, depending on their type, can “live” long lives, perhaps many billions of years. Do they hold a memory of those lives, carrying them into other lives?
His progression into, and the evolution of, his theory provides not only a means of tracking Walker’s narrative, but is also channeled through his connections with the people he ‘meets’ both physically and along the invisible pathways of covalency.
The setting is during the COVID-19 shutdown, in Australia, over a 24 hour period. The narrative goes around the world, however, and crosses time and location.
The narrative, as much metaphysical as physical, moves with Walker as he himself undertakes his exploration.
The narrative structure is overlaid with an unsolved nineteenth century murder, which connects the dots and provides a thriller tone.
The structure is designed so that Walker’s ‘real time’ story, mapped out over a single day, is linked to the stories of those to whom, as we discover, he is ethereally – atomically - connected. Connections are subtly, and sometimes unknowingly (to Walker) made, pulling Walker into contact with other lives and experiences beyond the constraints of his own time and place, including side journeys into Gnosticism, philosophy and quantum science.
The conclusion reaches a point where his thoughts become coherent and meaningful, perhaps giving him the missing sense of himself and a place he can call “home” for the first time.
He reaches a very sane outcome: we are all just trying to find our way home.
The novel explores themes such as connection, memory and identity and traces the inner narratives that compete to tell the stories of our respective lives, even as we live them.
The MS is currently at third draft stage, approx., 50,000 words.
To be Published - approx. 50.000 words - Rights: World (Incl. World English)