Read The Metaphysical Touch by Sylvia Brownrigg Online


In 1991 Emily Piper is a graduate student finishing her dissertation on metaphysics, when her home and work are destroyed in the Berkeley-Oakland fires. With her life's work in cinders, she retreats in shock to the small coastal town of Mendocino. It is here that Emily becomes hesitantly involved in the early days of Net chat rooms. Soon, Emily, dubbed Pi, wanders into theIn 1991 Emily Piper is a graduate student finishing her dissertation on metaphysics, when her home and work are destroyed in the Berkeley-Oakland fires. With her life's work in cinders, she retreats in shock to the small coastal town of Mendocino. It is here that Emily becomes hesitantly involved in the early days of Net chat rooms. Soon, Emily, dubbed Pi, wanders into the quixotic thoughts of JD, a mysterious figure living on America's opposite coast. What develops is a tentative, stimulating and perilous relationship. Who is JD, and furthermore, who, now, is Pi? This is the highly original, multilayered story of two lost souls whose charged connection gives new meaning to the "mind/body problem."...

Title : The Metaphysical Touch
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780575066533
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 444 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Metaphysical Touch Reviews

  • Julie Ehlers
    2019-04-05 15:20

    The plot of The Metaphysical Touch is pretty simple: Two people in their 30s, each troubled in his/her own way, meet online and establish a virtual friendship. What makes it unusual is simply the fact that this novel was published in 1998 and takes place in late 1991/early 1992. In other words, something that seems very ordinary to many of us now was not really ordinary to a lot of people reading the book upon its initial publication, and it certainly was not ordinary to most of the characters in the book. Reading it in 2017, however, makes it next to impossible to view the situation in exactly the way these characters do. The internet is just not as full of mystery now as it was back then.So yes, this novel is dated. When our main character, Emily "Pi" Piper, establishes her online friendship, her housemate Abbie is dismissive of it; in Abbie's view, you can't possibly have any kind of friendship with someone you've never met in real life. Pi, on the other hand, feels an intense connection with her virtual friend, JD, such that it transforms her life and outlook and, of course, causes her to spend tons of time online instead of out in the actual world. Nowadays, neither of these viewpoints quite rings true—on the one hand, we all know that it's possible to get to know people online and consider them friends, even if we never meet them IRL. On the other hand, precisely because virtual friendships are now much more common, it seems silly to view an online acquaintanceship that's been going on for only a few weeks as profoundly significant. I kept thinking that Pi and JD should give it a few months before they get too excited about the whole thing. It's the novelty of it, the "great unknown" element, that makes it all a bigger deal than it would be today. The emails JD and Pi exchange seem dated as well; they both write in a relentlessly ironic tone that feels very 1990s but that today makes their correspondence ring false.Still, if you can look past those elements (not that easy to do, admittedly—they're a big part of the book), you do still have an interesting novel about Pi, a woman who's lost everything in the 1991 Berkeley/Oakland fire, and JD, a man who has announced on the web his intention to eventually kill himself. JD's sections in particular are filled with humor (believe it or not), and Pi's grapple with what it means to have to start your life over from scratch. The whole thing is pretty unique and emotionally astute, the supporting characters are vivid and memorable, and the northern California setting is well-drawn. Indeed, in spite of the dated qualities of The Metaphysical Touch, I would have given it 4 stars if it weren't for one thing: That ending! Ugh. Inexcusable.

  • Josie
    2019-04-09 13:19

    This took so long to get going that it almost spoilt it altogether.Overall I enjoyed being whisked back to a time where internet was new and, well, clunky (all that plugging in, and it tying up your phone line) so this book took me somewhere nostalgic I guess.I enjoy parallel storylines/threads, and did really get into the groove when it all got a bit more interesting in the 2nd half of the book.An overall good read. I've got a few more books by this author, so will be keen to see how her writing develops in her more recent work.

  • Kaye McSpadden
    2019-04-02 20:07

    I loved this book -- a wonderful, creative, engrossing, and touching exploration of loss. At the heart of the book is a series of e-mail messages between the main character and a person she never met. To see how such correspondence could so profoundly affect one's life was thought-provoking and moving.

  • Dawn
    2019-04-09 19:16

    Couldn't finish--main character so absorbed in herself, it left no room for development of others. Still think Sylvia Brownrigg is a very good writer.

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-04-09 16:11

    Originally published on my blog here in August 2002.How can one respond to a catastrophe which destroys the very centre of your life? Emily Piper, Pi to her friends, is a philosopher at Berkeley until the 1991 fire wipes out her home, her books and her cat. She stays with friends and relatives, unable to face anything to do with her former life (including books). Eventually, she moves in with a relative of a friend, a woman herself in the middle of a divorce and with an unhappy seven year old daughter. Pi has been given a computer by one of her friends, and she begins to discover the joys of the Internet. In these days before the domination of the Web, that really means email and BBSs. (This made the novel something of a nostalgia trip for me, as this is what things were like when I first went online in the late eighties.)On the BBS accessed by Pippa, a bit of a stir has been created by a series of posts called the "Diery". (It reads rather like the wonderful monologues in the radio comedy drama At Home With the Snails.) This is a journal apparently written by a man named J.D. who has lost his job and is dealing with suicidal urges by documenting them. Although he goes to considerable lengths to hide his real identity, he contacts Pi directly after she posts stories based on parts of the Diery.The Metaphysical Touch is the story of their virtual relationship. It is very well told, the emails that pass between Pi and J.D. are convincing. It is a philosophical novel, and in places requires a fair amount of concentration as a result, but it is worth it.

  • Nick Davies
    2019-03-26 16:07

    Picked up on a whim in a book clearance (you know what they say about judging a book by its cover!) this contemporary piece had interesting parallel threads dealing with a student losing her belongings (and by extension, her identity) in a house fire, a diarist dealing with his depression, and the relationship that develops between them online. Though I did very much enjoy the book, the ending confused and disappointed me, and some of the later bisexual wonderings of the various characters seemed a bit forced (it didn't seem to contribute at all to the story, which had been interesting and capable of standing for itself up till the latter stages).

  • Tatiana
    2019-04-15 13:10

    this is one of those books where i loved it, but i don't think i could anyone to read it, much less love it. while the internet guy chapters were less compelling to me than the main character's, i still just really liked the entire story. and i think every writer would identify with the 'dissertation lost in a fire' premise, i mean who among us doesn't have horrific nighmares of losing all our stories/novel/poems in some freak accident? or, for that matter, walked through days like a shell-shocked POW after our computers have up and died, taking precious drops of creativity with them?

  • Megan Kelosiwang
    2019-04-05 19:23

    It took me a while to get into this book but I started to enjoy it more as it got further into the unorthodox, complex relationships. I found the characters a bit hard to like but I did think the ending was great. Left me feeling satisfied with the outcome of the story.

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    2019-04-04 18:09


  • michelle
    2019-04-12 13:37

    this was actually a re-read ... read for the first time and loved it in like 2005.

  • Katie
    2019-03-31 12:30

    I love FSG.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-19 16:12

    I had to read this book for english and I disliked it very much. It was very philosophical and the ending honestly just sucked.