No summary can catch the air of confusion, uncertainty and loss that pervades Mr. Levi’s narrative. As one of the characters says, 'No one sees Septimania for what it is.' It makes other conspiracy theories seem under-plotted ... Septimania has the format of a novel, but it has roots in the folk-tales of The Arabian Nights. It reaches out to epic, in the form of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and to Wordsworth’s Newton, 'voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.' It takes in the sad modern world of refugees and terrorism, plots and code-breakers. And it’s a love story, too. More than one reading will be needed to digest Mr. Levi’s comprehensive, many-branching vision. It adds new dimensions to the idea of the novel.
Septimania is anything but a straightforward narrative, and those without a taste for magic and fantasy may give up midway through ... I won’t pretend that, after finishing Septimania, I wasn’t longing for a bite of fiction that was a bit more grounded. But the book haunted me, the way a painting does when you’re trying to figure how the artist created light.
There's a lot of imagination in these here pages, and a lot of love and lust and math. So much math. Imaginary numbers, division by zero...some of it went way high over my head, but that's fine. I like a book that makes me think. That said, I don't think this is a book for everyone. This is, instead, a book for lovers of the insanely literary form, for people who love to dream. If this is you, give it a shot, and tell me: what do you think of the wild cast of characters, the vast timeline, and everything else going on in this super-rich Kingdom of Septimania?