The Absolute is a sprawling historical novel about the Deliuskin-Scriabin family, made up of six generations of geniuses and madmen. Beginning in the mid-18th century in Russia, across Europe and ending in late 20th-century Argentina, the characters’ lives play out in different branches of art, politics and science in such radical ways that they transform the world and its reality. The narrator’s ancestor, Frantisek Deliuskin, invents a new form of music in the 18th century; his son, Andrei Deliuskin, makes some marginal annotations to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola that are later interpreted by Lenin as an instruction manual to carry out the Russian Revolution of 1917; Esau Deliuskin, following the course of his father, creates a socialist utopian society; and down through the generations to the narrator, whose creation takes him back in time and space to the moment of the Big Bang.
The Absolute is a monumental work about the creation of art and about family, about spiritual traditions and about throwing oneself into the world not to capture life but to create it, in and through words.
"A quixotic enterprise concerned with a quixotic enterprise founded on a desire to understand and memorialize a succession of quixotic enterprises."—Leo Robson, New York Times
"Guebel's prose throughout, in the able hands of his gifted translator Jessica Sequeira, adds to the many pleasures of this wholly original text. Guebel's great novel is a timely reminder of why our translators are our best travel writers, bringing us on excursions and to places that we can only ever read about."—Michael Cronin, The Irish Times