BOOK REVIEW / In Brief: The Visiting Professor by Robert Littell: Faber, pounds 14.99

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The Independent Culture
Less a spy story, more a comic novel-of-ideas, detailing the misadventures of one Lemuel Falk, a Russian professor of chaos theory who swaps the chaos of his homeland for what he hopes is the better-paid chaos of America. Littell is at his best as he playfully elucidates the complexities of chaos theory, relating its arcane convolutions to the twists of life, the Torah, and the Jewish concept of God. His comedy, however, is less successful, an uncomfortable mix of Carry On with Frank Capra, while his leading woman character is little more than a thinly-conceived preppie sexual fantasy.