The Sage Train: Philosophy Comes to Life

Written by Nicky Hansell
Review by Christoph Fischer

This novel uses a quirky and original idea: a dead Nietzsche, discussing great philosophers with a travel companion. The book is written in episodes spanning times and places between Athens of 290 BC and Cambridge of 1969, with characters such as Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes and Aristippus.

While the stories are fictitious, they are based on the real historical personalities and depict dilemmas and parts of their philosophies. The author has a background in teaching Philosophy and Ethics and is clearly familiar with her subjects and their ways of thinking. As such, the book is an intelligent and rewarding read with probably more depth and accomplishment than this reviewer of historical fiction can appreciate and accredit.

Sadly, for me there was a lack of scene-setting, and there were fewer ornamental details than I would have liked, which would have drawn focus away from the intellectual exercise. However, the writing credits are solid, and the quirky style makes this a very entertaining and enjoyable read, most suited for those interested in philosophy.