"The Room" by Ray Melnik has a simple title and the storyline itself is relatively simple, but the treatment of its underlying scientific and philosophical ideas are tremendously original; their effortless placement within an otherwise ordinary story reflects the natural magnificence of the book that Melnik, in the introduction, refuses to refer to as science fiction because "science is not fiction. It is a reality of the most all-encompassing kind."
- Tyler R. Tichelaar - author of "The Marquette Trilogy"
An existential view of life with an extraordinary twist...
From the time Harry began choosing his own books from the library, he chose science. Harry, a warm-hearted, hard-working wiring technician with a talent for all things electronic, believes without exception that for everything that happens, there is a natural reason. He believes that when we're born, we're given only existence. Everything we do from there, what we learn and what we encounter, gives us value or not.
Armed only with these beliefs, Harry now faces a world of hurt - and, beyond the hurt, a chance for a new love.
As his divorce becomes final, he struggles on limited means to maintain a happy relationship with his two young daughters. His mother is dying, and in her last days, she's delusional and living in a painful past. Harry's brother Malcolm, with whom he shared a childhood of abuse at the hands of their brutal father, is long estranged from both Harry and their mother, and refuses to visit her on her deathbed.
He can't stop the thoughts as emotions once hidden away now must be dealt with as old wounds are exposed.
Into all this remembered anxiety and sadness walks Lacie, the daughter of the local pub-keeper. She's everything Harry always wanted the love of his life to be: compassionate, generous, lithe and lovely, with a heart big enough to match his. She stirs in him feelings he thought were long dead.
But, apart from a sweet and sensuous beginning, the romance must wait, as Harry faces his mother's death, and a confrontation with his brother he knows will be ugly.
Then it happens, a cosmic event, centered in the room in which young Harry and Malcolm hid from their father's tyranny, which transforms Harry's very existence. In the final moments of his mother's life, Harry becomes immersed in an extraordinary happening, one that will change his life forever.
Set in Washingtonville, a friendly hamlet in New York's lovely Hudson Valley, "The Room" is about life passages, and the possibilities of a universe we are only beginning to comprehend. The room of the title is a place of cosmic convergence, a repository of memory, and a place where pain and sadness resides and their memories linger. It's a place of both painful life and sad death that comes with regrets and desire for healing old wounds, or at least apologizing for old wrong.
Although Harry finally meets a woman who understands and truly loves him, the cosmos takes a different path. He's left to wonder if love can transcend a universe, and discovers that what goes wrong in life sometimes matters as much as what goes right.
This novel is intended as a work of imagination, but is not intended as a work of science fiction. In Harry's belief system, as in mine, science is not fiction. It is a reality of the most all-encompassing kind. It's a reality where the cosmos is far more bizarre and interesting than any pseudo-science could ever offer.
– Ray Melnik
Cover of The Room Novel
See below for additional links and information.
The events in The Room novel occur in the
Village of Washingtonville, New York, located in the lower Hudson Valley.
Special thanks to Edward Hayman for editing, proofreading and enlightening advice.
Additional proofreading by Ira Blutreich.
The reference in chapter nine to “how fragile, how breakable we all are” was inspired by the song lyrics to “Breakable” from the “Girls and Boys” CD by Ingrid Michaelson.
To Leonard Susskind for his clear view of reality.
To Brian Greene for his clever illustration of string theory.
Some of the character Harry's views are shaped by the writings of Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins.
On The Room's front cover, there's a hidden image!