ALAN LIGHTMAN. EINSTEIN’S DREAMS. Alan Lightman was born in Memphis,. Tennessee, in and educated at. Princeton and at the California Institute. A modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in , about time, relativity and physics. As. “Einstein’s Dreams,” by Alan Lightman, strives to be a kind of post-modern hybrid of science writing and fantasy. It stands partly in the tradition.

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Thisobsession with speed carries throughthe night, when valuable time could belost, or gained, while asleep. So tiny are the disconnections in timethat a single second would have to bemagnified and dissected into one thou-sand parts and each of those parts intoone thousand parts before a single miss-ing part of time could be spotted.

Hehardly knows her, she could be manip-ulative, and her movements hint atvolatility, but that way her face softenswhen she smiles, that laugh, that cleveruse of words. While people can be doubted,time cannot be doubted. A withered woman sits in a chairhardly moving, her face red andswollen, her eyesight almost gone, herhearing gone, her breathing scratchylike eintsein rustle of dead leaves on stones.

Theyhave known each einstien since their stu-dent days in Zrich. She hears voices, music. In the world in which time is a circle,every handshake, every kiss, everybirth, every word, will be repeated pre-cisely.


Trains leave the sta-tion at the Bahnhofplatz when the einshein filled with passengers. The positions and motions ofclouds appear exactly the same, the tra-jectories of birds, the pightman of conversa-tions, thoughts. For twenty years sheworked as a clerk in the Bundeshaus,recording debates. Some few people are born withoutany sense of time.

Politicians do not know that theywill shout from the same lectern an in-finite number of times in the cycles oftime. A boatman gauges fleri positionin the dark by counting seconds driftedin the waters current. The past exists only inbooks, in documents. No one evercomes into his own.

Einstein’s Dreams – Wikipedia

Ddleri later, she meets a youngman and is smitten with love. Without his Book of Life, a person is asnapshot, a two-dimensional image, aghost. Yet the time-deaf are unable tospeak what they know.

A man in along leather coat stands on his fourth-floor balcony on Kramgasse overlook-ing the Zhringer Fountain and thewhite street below.

Theyhave even convinced themselves thatthin air is good for their bodies and,following that logic, have gone onspare diets, refusing all but the mostgossamer food.

In this world, asecond is a second is a second. Steam rising from alake in early morning. Desks become neat by the endof the day. A solicitor runs across thestreet to an appointment somewhere,his head jerking this way and that likea small animals.


Achild wincing from his fathers slap, thefathers lips twisted in anger, the childnot understanding. A wornbook lying on a table beside a dimlamp.

A. Lightman – Einstein’s Dreams

Moss grows between the stoneslabs of the roofs. Thuseveryone travels at dlero velocity, togain time. His studies came toa halt. In this acausal world, scientists arehelpless.

Why such a fixation on speed? In fact, this is a world without future.

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Minutes later, the eindtein stops again. Families comforta dying uncle not because of a likely in-heritance, but because he is loved atthat moment. Just now, on a sunny afternoon, awoman stands in the middle of theBahnhofplatz, waiting to meet a partic-ular man. On the other hand, Besso thinks thathis friend might be capable of anything. Much better to stay in dlfri mo-ment, beside the warm fire, beside thewarm help of his mentor.

And at the place where time standsstill, one sees lovers kissing in the shad-ows of buildings, in a frozen embracethat will never let go. There, at four minutes to three,the Zytgloggeturm pays tribute to time.