9.03.2010

Friday book review




I've been trying to think of a few things that I could post about on a regular basis. One of them is book reviews. I recently finished this book - "The solitude of Prime Numbers." It's apparently an international bestseller, the book itself is set in Italy. This was a change for me, I can't even think of the last time that I read a book by an italian author. (Umberto Eco maybe?) Anyway, Paolo Giordano is a young novelist, and is working on his doctorate in physics. I'm not sure if he wrote this while he was working on his doctorate, but if that's the case, then many kudos to him.

It's a really beautiful book. Each chapter is short, and seem like snapshots. They each begin and end sharply, and the book flies because of it. I read it in three days. The story is pretty much about two people, Mattia and Alice, who vaguely are in love, but you're never really sure because not only are they distant from each other, but they are also removed from everyone else in their lives. The book spans from their childhood to adulthood, and by the end, you have a very complete image of these two individuals, which is almost surprising because of how succinct the telling is.

I was not sure that I felt much in the way of compassion for these people, because they were so cold. Thankfully the author occasionally gives you glimpses from other people's points of view. Still though, the things that haunt them, Mattia- his sister's death and his almost autistic way of dealing with people, Alice- her hatred of her father and her anorexia, these things really don't seem explained to me. It's almost as though they are just flawed, and can never connect. Which I suppose is the point of the whole analogy with prime numbers. The way the author works math into the novel by the way (through Mattia who uses Math as a screen) is really great.

All in all, although the book was poignant and sad, I really enjoyed it. It is thoughtful and well written.

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