BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: A Case of Curiosities - Allen Kurzweil: Penguin, pounds 5.99

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This ingenious and labyrinthine first novel has received rich plaudits, and certainly the central conceit - the life of an 18th-century watch-maker and master of automata traced through the contents of an old case discovered in a Paris auction house - is brilliantly flexible and leads to endless entertaining by- ways of narrative. Exotic, polymathic, in the realms of high imagining.