THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
by Lisa Grunwald
Knopf; 333 pages; $20
At 30, physicist Alexander Simon has everything, including the Theory of Everything. His new, Nobel-size hypothesis ties up the movement of the tides and the invisible violence of the atom, the phenomenon of light and the drag of gravity. If only this young Einstein were a think-tank nerd, he could insulate himself from the challenges of academic inquiry and worldwide publicity.
But Alexander is all too human. He finds himself retreating from a universe whose significance eludes him and undone by persistent echoes of childhood. It was then that his...