print edition | books and arts
mar 7th 2002
machines that imitate life, or automata, became popular as expensive playthings during the 18th century. from glorified clocks they quickly evolved into a procession of mechanical dancers, birds and musical figurines of increasing complexity. operating at the intersection of science, commerce and entertainment, they enabled ideas to flow freely between these fields and spawned technologies and manufacturing techniques that later helped to fuel the industrial revolution. the men who made them, as gaby wood relates in “living dolls”, were driven by the desire to play god
the end of number the stars lines right up with the end of world war ii. this seems like a natural stopping point, because at the end of the war, the different threads of the story can all be woven together. sure, we already know that the rosens made it off to sweden safely, but fast forwarding to the end of the war assures us that all of our characters are safe and sound.
but wait a second. even with this tidy ending, we don't get closure on everything. we know what has happened to the johansens and to peter (r.i. but where are the rosens? where's ellen? what will her homecoming be like? will annemarie and ellen still be the friends that they used to be? or will their experiences in "different worlds" (10.4) have pushed them too far apart? what other questions would you like to hear answered?
and don't forget: at the end of number the stars, the nazis' reign has ended. but the healing—of copenhagen, of the jews—has barely begun.
Irish, the answer should come from yourself kasi reflection 'yan. just imagine you're the person in your question and not someone else