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Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Anathem is set on the planet Arbre where the society is divided into two separate sections. The scholars live in maths and are called avout. They live a cloistered life where they must develop their knowledge without high tech equipment. They open their doors to the rest of the populace, the Saecular world, only after long periods of isolation, ranging from ten to a thousand years. Fraa Erasmas is an avout living in one of the maths and he's looking forward to the one day a decade the doors are open to the public. Events transpire, however, that threaten both worlds, and the avout and those in the Saecular world must find a way to merge their lives if they're going to survive. Neal Stephenson's novel has received mostly positive reviews with Salon.com saying, "Anathem pulls off what most writers would never dare attempt -- it is simultaneously a page turner and a philosophical argument, an adventure novel and an extended existential meditation, a physics lesson, sermon and ripping good yarn."
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Buy Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Seattle Times review by Nisi Shawl

Salon.com review by Andrew Leonard

Washington Post review by Michael Dirda

The Telegraph review by Andrew McKie

Los Angeles Times review by Laura Miller

The Scotsman review by Andrew J Wilson

Boston Globe review by Peter Bebergal

Neal Stephenson
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