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Travelling to Infinity por Jane Hawking
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Travelling to Infinity (original 1999; edição 2014)

por Jane Hawking (Autor)

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3081063,870 (3.63)18
Now a major motion picture starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane. It chronicles their relationship, from his early development of ALS to his success in physics In this compelling memoir, Jane Hawking, Stephen Hawking's first wife, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor-neuron disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his twenty-four-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness. The inner strength of the author and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author's candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend. In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the fault lines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth. The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.… (mais)
Membro:JohnJHD
Título:Travelling to Infinity
Autores:Jane Hawking (Autor)
Informação:Alma Books (2014), 480 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen por Jane Hawking (1999)

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Although, my heart is hurting a little bit from reading Jane Hawking's memoir, she is so beautifully honest about the hardships and successes of her marriage to Stephen Hawking. She really painted a realistic picture in comparison to the adaptation and cinematic portrayal of 'The Theory of Everything' which was just a wee bit sugar coated in comparison to this.
Professor Stephen Hawking was a great man but he would never have achieved many of the scientific breakthroughs that he did without Jane. It would have been so hard living in his shadow, with no acknowledgement and dealing with the emotional turmoil and abuse as her marriage suffered.
She made Stephen human.
A great read and a very human and realistic peek into their lives. Highly recommend ( )
  MandaTheStrange | Oct 7, 2020 |
I let out a long sigh of relief when I finished this book because it is so long and tedious. I was shocked to learn that it is “the abridged version of the original memoir” (405) which ran to over 600 pages! I guess I should be grateful my book club chose this version!

This memoir by Jane Hawking is the story of her life with the world-famous physicist, Stephen Hawking. She describes their first encounters, their courtship, and their 25-year marriage. The focus is on her struggles to cope with her husband’s increasing dependence as his body degenerated while simultaneously meeting the needs of their three children. In a postlude, she briefly describes their lives after their divorce.

The book needs a thorough editing. There is too much discussion of irrelevant material. For example, does the reader really need to know that Jane “found many similarities between the kharjas and the cantigas de amigo, which were possibly the result of Mozarabic migrations northward” (200) or that Castilian villancicos are full of medieval iconography symbolizing the multiplicity of the aspects of love (236)? Why is a two-page biography of Newton included (331-332)? In a memoir, I don’t expect to read that “In the thirteenth century, Alfonso the Wise of Castile expanded the role of Toledo as a major centre for translation” (103). After a while, the impression is that the author is trying to convince us of her erudition.

Then there’s the needless repetition. How often must we read about the difficulties she experienced trying to write her thesis, the problems she had with Stephen’s nurses, the fatigue she suffered, the thin veneer of normality they tried to maintain, or the innocence of her relationship with Jonathan? With the latter, a quote from Hamlet came to mind: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” At times the book reads like a series of lists: we get lists of friends, lists of places where she and Stephen travelled for conferences, lists of social functions she hosted, lists of concerts she attended, etc.

Undoubtedly, Jane faced great challenges and deserves recognition for her role in Stephen’s life. By caring for him and the family as she did, she aided his advancement in his pursuits. By just describing what she did, she would earn the reader’s respect and sympathy. The problem is that instead of letting her story speak for itself, she whines and complains. At times the book seems one long complaint. Everything has to come back to her. She is upset because she didn’t receive gifts when Stephen received honours. She wants sympathy because she had the shingles. She becomes so agitated when people question her about Tim’s father after she has brought another man into the household? This constant tone of “Woe is me” makes her seem selfish and petty and draws attention away from her unquestionable accomplishments.

What the reader is not given in the book is a real understanding of the relationship between Stephen and Jane. Listing her responsibilities and Stephen’s accomplishments does little to show how the two of them were together. Stephen does not come across very positively: he was intellectually arrogant; he was utterly absorbed in physics to the detriment of his family; he needed to be the centre of attention; he was dismissive of Jane’s interests; and he was uncommunicative. As I’ve already stated, Jane comes across as whiny. At the beginning, she describes herself as someone “who managed to see the funny side of situations” and was “fairly shy, yet not averse to expressing . . . opinions” (6), yet her sense of humour seems non-existent and one of her problems is her self-effacement. She also shows little self-awareness because she implies that she is a victim, that this life just happened to her, whereas she made a choice to marry Stephen knowing his diagnosis and the prognosis. I’m left with a question: did she marry Stephen because she loved him? Theirs does not seem to be a great love affair. From the beginning, their relationship seems detached, certainly not passionate. She seems to stay with Stephen out of a sense of obligation, more than love.

The book jacket mentions the author’s “candour” but I found her often evasive. For instance, when mentioning Stephen’s nurse, who became his second wife, Jane says, “Probably with her he had found someone tougher than me with whom he could again somehow have a physical relationship” (378). So Jane and Stephen were no longer intimate? Later, she says, “Flames of vituperation, hatred, desire for revenge leapt at me from all sides, scorching me to the quick with accusations” (379). All sides?

On the topic of editing, I may come across as petty, but I must point out the careless proofreading of the book: “they behaved with caution and towed the party line” (149) and “Irritatingly their gossip was as pervasive as the smoke from their cigarettes, I and found myself compelled to listen” (170) and “Both her age and her sex enabled her to avoid the some of the pressures” (226) and “In conclusion the author looked forward to the time when mankind would able to ‘know the mind of God’” (289). And how about sentences with seven prepositional phrases: “At Cern Stephen would be working on the implications for the direction of the arrow of time of quantum theory and of the observations from the particle accelerator (286-287). And what editor would allow the phrase “the elderly Indian squaw” (91)?!

The reason I tend to avoid memoirs is that they are inevitably one-sided. I prefer to get several perspectives since the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of each person’s version of events. An article I read stated, “Jane decided it was time to answer her critics with a final definitive description of the marriage, purging the bitterness occasioned by the 'horrendously painful' divorce that tainted the first book” (http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/4627634/Hawkings-ex-writes-second-mem...). This begs the question: what bias taints this book? The film The Theory of Everything was apparently based on this memoir, but the film is not faithful to the book. Is the book faithful to what really happened?

Anyone looking for real insight into the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his first wife will not find it here. The book is a long and tiresome read; consequently, its effect is not to give the author the respect and recognition she craves and deserves.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Jun 28, 2018 |
500 pages to tell a 200 page story. Mind numbing details, disjointed at times and tedious to read. Finished Part One (book has four parts) but abandoned the book in Part Two when I encountered page after page of useless information. Would like to read this story thru the pen of Walter Isaacson. ( )
  epattyj | Jun 21, 2018 |
Certainly I am not a fan of the (all too recent) past where women were even more-so expected to get married and procreate and give up their own hopes and dreams to tend to their man and little children. However, while I felt bad that there weren't enough safety nets in place to assist families such as the Hawkings, Jane certainly did have agency in deciding to get married and have children. Yet the entire book is one long complaint about how she didn't feel that she was able to carry out her own life, and how difficult it was being married and having children. The solution would have seemed to have been not getting married or having kids. But, I guess she was expecting her husband to die relatively soon after marriage, so maybe she didn't get what she bargained for.

I didn't feel this book had much to offer. If it had been framed of more of a crusade for disability rights, it would have been a much better book. But it wasn't really about Stephen Hawking, the writing about her career seemed like a bizarre interlude, and it wasn't really about physics... ( )
  lemontwist | Jan 1, 2018 |
Jane Hawking has written an excellent book about her life with Stephen Hawking. Although they are no longer married, I sense her caring, love, and respect for him through her words. I admire immensely for all that she did, especially when their children were younger with Stephen's requiring so much help. Her dedication is inspiring. Jane is very intelligent, and it shows not only in her writing but in her interests and her pursuit of her own PhD. The writing did get technical when she talked about some of Stephen's research, and I found it hard to follow since it's physics. I appreciate even more the mind of Stephen Hawking and now have the utmost respect for his first wife. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Nov 6, 2017 |
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The story of my life with Stephen Hawking began in the summer of 1962, though possibly it began ten or so years earlier than that without my being aware of it.
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Now a major motion picture starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane. It chronicles their relationship, from his early development of ALS to his success in physics In this compelling memoir, Jane Hawking, Stephen Hawking's first wife, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor-neuron disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his twenty-four-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness. The inner strength of the author and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author's candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend. In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the fault lines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth. The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.

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