Physically and in its narrative structure, Zachary Mason’s first novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, reminds me very much of Einstein’s Dreams. Even the authors come from similar environments, Alan Lightman being a physics professor at MIT and Mason an AI computer scientist who once taught at Oxford. Both books are short, with Lightman’s at 192 pages and Mason’s at 228. And both are comprised of a series of brief chapters, dreams, or reimaginings.
In the preface, Mason lays out his framework: These pages consist of 44 papyrus variations on Odysseus’ story—the source material, if you will, for Homer’s epic poem. These 44 chapters then, are the “lost books.”