Sophie's World by Jostein gaarder

July 11, 2012
By PurpleTornado SILVER, Dhaka, Other
PurpleTornado SILVER, Dhaka, Other
6 articles 3 photos 1 comment

It is not very often that we come across a book that changes the very basis of our thinking. It is even more seldom that we can get a guide to an entire branch of study through a simple novel.
Sophie’s World is the most unique mystery novel you will find. It’s a window to philosophy. Originally written in Norwegian by Jostein Gaarder, this international bestseller has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The plot starts with 14 year old Sophie Amundsen receiving two anonymous letters in her mailbox, asking two questions: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” Hence Sophie becomes a part of a course on the history of philosophy. Initially, her teacher remains anonymous to her, but later on he reveals himself as fifty-year old Alberto Knox. At the same time, Sophie receives a series of equally unusual postcards and letters addressed to someone called Hilde.
On one hand, Alberto gives Sophie an extended knowledge on philosophy, starting from pre-Socratic ideas, continuing to the theories of Karl Marx, Darwin and Freud and ending with the concept of the Big Bang theory. On the other hand Sophie and Alberto together try to unravel their mysterious connection with Hilde and her father. But they are faced with truths that are much more complicated than they had anticipated.
Jostein Gaarder starts the novel by making us realize that a person who cannot feel their continuity with three millennia of human thinking, does not truly know himself. The writer says, “the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder.” Throughout the book, he tries to instill that wonder inside us.
It is not a simple feat to put the entire philosophical history going back 3000 years into 500 pages of words. Yet it is done here in the simplest possible manner. Anyone -from a teenager to an old person- will find this book fascinating.
Although a major part of the book is a course on philosophy, the book does not get boring at all. The mysteries of the plot, the slight humor and the ideas that are offered to ponder upon are enough to keep the reader engrossed. Sophie’s World is a must read for anyone who wants to know a bit about philosophy in a pleasant, simple way.

The author's comments:
Review of an engrossing mystery novel which also happens to be a history of philosophy.

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