The Visiting Professor is one of Littell’s most original novels, exploring the relationships between randomness and God, chaos and sex, a butterfly tattoo and occasional rain, the going and the getting there. Lemuel Falk, ‘a Russian theoretical chaoticist on the lam from terrestrial chaos’, has been applying for permission to leave Russia every year for the past twenty-three years. Because he knows state secrets, he has not been allowed to cross the state's frontiers. Now, suddenly, his request for an exit visa is approved – a sure sign that the situation is even more chaotic than he has imagined. Falk accepts a chair as a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Chaos-Related Studies in upstate New York. Arriving in the Promised Land under the impression that the streets are paved with Sony Walkmans, he plunges into the heart of another kind of chaos. No sooner has he arrived than he sets off on an academic catfight, falls in love with a hairdresser half his age, and becomes a self-styled gumshoe tracking a serial killer.