Corsair has acquired an "inventive" debut novel from actor Sophie Ward, winner of the Royal Academy Pin Drop Short Story Award, which draws on experimental philosophy to talk about love.
Love And Other Thought Experiments, described as "a truly inventive, layered, heartfelt and captivating read", introduces readers to Rachel and Eliza, a married couple planning to have a baby together with their friends Hal and Greg. The experience brings the women even closer together until one night Rachel wakes in great distress, believing that an ant has crawled into her eye – and Eliza doesn’t believe her. With this event, the fault lines in Rachel and Eliza’s fundamental ideas about their relationship are exposed, calling into question their willingness to truly accept and have faith in one another, and their future together.
The story is told from the point of view of different characters in Rachel and Eliza’s world (including the ant itself) and, inspired by Ward's fascination with scientists and philosophers and the way they use stories to discuss important ideas, uses 11 of the best-known thought experiments in philosophy as a device through which to talk about love.
Corsair’s editorial director, Sarah Castleton, who acquired rights in the book from Laura Macdougall at United Agents, said: "This is a book only Sophie could have written. It would seem daunting for any novelist, let alone a debut novelist, to write in direct conversation with philosophers of mind like Pascal and Nagel. Harder still to turn out a novel that is a truly inventive, layered, heartfelt and captivating read. Yet this is what I think Sophie has done. For me, her novel is nothing short of brilliant, about the work of empathy and narrative in helping us complexify our understanding of love and loss and the choices we make in our relationships with each other."
Corsair will publish Love and Other Thought Experiments in hardback and e-book for Valentine’s Day 2020.