Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

According to the blurb on the back cover: "A prime number is a solitary thing: it can only be divided by itself, or by one; it never truly fits with another."

The story is about two people, Mattia and Alice, each with a personal tragedy. Alice's difficult relationship with her father drove her to a skiing accident as a child, causing her to be crippled, and later she develops anorexia. As a boy, Mattia left his mentally disabled twin sister in a local park by a river to go to a classmate's party, when he returned an hour later, she was gone and her body was never found.

They get to know each other as teenagers, and immediately identify something they can relate to in the other, and develop a deep bond. As adults Mattia takes a post as a professor of Mathematics in another country, while Alice marries a doctor and tries to pass off her eating disorder and the physical damage it does to her as normal, as she works as a photographer's assistant.

By chance, Alice sees a woman who reminds her so much of Mattia, that she is convinced that the woman is his sister. She tells him to return home immediately, and he does, and it seems that all that they have felt growing up will finally have an outlet.

A fantastic read, and beautifully translated from the original Italian La Solitudine Dei Numeria Primi by Shaun Whiteside.

No comments: