The Chain of Chance
At first glance "The Chain of Chance" is a detective story – a series of mysterious deaths of people visiting Naples' baths is examined. The protagonist, an American Astronaut, prematurely retired because of allergies, tries to solve this riddle. He experiences a number of extraordinary adventures but eventually the greatest of them all is the adventure of the mind having to find its way in the chaos of the contemporary world.
Lem is both a polymath and a virtuoso storyteller and stylist. Put them together and they add up to a genius... He has been steadily producing fiction that follows the arcs and depths of his learning and a bewildering labyrinth of moods and attitudes. Like his protagonists, loners virtually to a man, his fiction seems at a distance from the daily cares and passions, and conveys the sense of a mind hovering above the boundaries of the human condition: now mordant, now droll, now arcane, now folksy, now skeptical, now haunted and always paradoxical. Yet his imagination is so powerful and pure that no matter what world he creates it is immediately convincing because of its concreteness and plentitude, the intimacy and authority with which it is occupied... read Lem for yourself. He is a major writer, and one of the deep spirits of our age.
Theodore Solotaroff "The New York Times Book Review"