Flatland by Edwin Abbott

Read: 30 November, 2011

A. Square, an inhabitant of the two-dimensional Flatland, is taken on a journey of Lineland, Spaceland, and Pointland, during which he learns to transcend many of his assumptions about the universe and the natural order.

There are two parts to the Flatland narrative. The first reads like your standard (albeit clever – clever enough to fool several contemporary reviewers) social commentary, while the second tries to illustrate the failings of perspective and how trapped we are in comprehending only our own and lower dimensions. But as with any excellent writer, the division is never quite so clear and the second part provides a very interesting lens for the first.

I knew going in that I would enjoy Flatland; I’d heard enough about it for that. I’m glad to say that I was not disappointed. This is an excellent and readable novel that is one part social commentary, one part math, and one part Crusoe adventure!

I highly recommend the Broadview edition of the text. As always, the notes, introduction, and additional materials are both interesting and informative.

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