Tuesday, February 23, 2010

28 - The Solitude of Prime Numbers; Paolo Giordano







The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a quiet but poignant coming of age story about two lonely misfits: Alice Della Rocca and Mattia Balossino. The story begins in 1983 and ends in 2007.

Alice is pushed, by her overbearing father, at a young age to become a world-class skier, but a serious skiing accident, in the Italian alps, leaves her scarred and with a permanent limp. At school, she desperately wants to fit in, but she is taunted by other classmates, engages in self loathing behavior, and, as a result, detests her father for the life she seems faced with.

Mattia is a twin, while he is brilliant, his twin sister Michela is damaged: "his brain seemed to be a perfect machine, in the same mysterious way that his sisters was so defective". Despite this the twins are placed in the same class at school, and Mattia finds himself constantly trying to shelter his sister from the taunting and the laughter of other students. He is forced by his parents to take his sister everywhere. When an incident occurs for which Mattia feels responsible, his life becomes full of guilt, and self loathing behavior as well. In high school he is sent to a new school, and the teachers are not sure how to handle the gifted, but socially withdrawn Mattia.

Alice tries to befriend Mattia, and is attracted to him. When she learns that he is a genius, she asks him if he likes to study. His reply is: "It's the only thing I know how to do." (He wanted to tell her that he liked to study because you can do it alone, because all the things you study are already dead, cold and chewed over). Needless to say, for Alice and Mattia the high school years had further scarred these two individuals who felt rejected by the world. "They had formed a defective and asymmetrical friendship, made up of long absences and much silence, a clean and empty space where both could come back to breathe when the walls of the school became too close for them to ignore the feeling of suffocation."

Taking separate paths after high school, Mattia, a brilliant mathematician, goes off to the university. The two reconnect off and on. Mattia summed it all up by saying he and Alice were "twin primes" alone and lost, "close but not close enough to really touch each other ---lonely individuals forever linked but separated."

MY THOUGHTS -- I loved this book. Not only is a debut novel, written by a physicist, it was first written in Italian, and beautifully translated to English. The story is told in short, alternating chapters, and it drew me in from the very first page. The characters are damaged and sympathetic. It is a beautiful story which shows just how a traumatic childhood can scar us for life. It's a story of missed opportunities, and one that I will not easily forget. The ending surprised me, and I look forward to more books by this talented author. READ THIS BOOK! - ( 5/5 stars )

(Early Review Copy received through the Amazon Vine Program)

 
(UK Cover)

26 comments:

  1. This sounds like a book I'd like. Thanks for the lovely review, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, that book sounds fantastic! Both covers are great, but I think I like the bottom one better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have not heard of this book before, but it sounds just lovely!

    I must confess that when I first read the title I was immediately reminded of the Housekeeper and the Professor and their shared affection for prime numbers :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great title. I want to read more books in translation this year, and this one sounds particularly lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have found another book to add to my list! I wonder if my library has this one... let me check quick.

    oh - imagine my delight to see 5 copies on order! I'm the first on the list. Yeah me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh boy, I can tell you are going to have my TBR shelf piled high with books. I will look for this book as I love novels like this. Thanks for the great review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It sounds intriguing...and the covers are fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a lovely review! I heard so much about this book last month while I was in Holland. It was one of the top 3 bestsellers at the time. I'd love to read it. It sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This sounds lovely. Definitely going on my tbr list.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I will definitely add this to my list. I love the fact it has twins in it, who are completely different. As a mother of twins, it is a question I am asked all the time.'Are they the same in everything'.
    I want to read more translations this year too. So a definite for me.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This book sounds wonderful. I've added it to my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This book jumped onto my radar a couple of months ago and I've been wanting to read it since then! Tony is actually reading it at the moment and is about halfway through, so I'll probably get to it soon! So glad to hear you loved it so much!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This sounds like an incredible book. It is going on my list right now, thanks for the review.

    I love the UK cover.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've got a copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it - especially after seeing that you enjoyed it! Hopefully I'll get to it in March.

    ReplyDelete
  15. A very interesting synopsis, I think it sounds like something I would really like to try. I am glad you liked it so much! I also love the cover of this book.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This sounds terrific. I am heading over to Amazon now to put it on my wish list! Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have loved the title of this book since I first saw it. Based on your review, I'm adding this to my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful review!! This book sounds great! I would love to read this one!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great review! Not sure if I can handle reading it but still a lovely review.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This book sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing this review, and thanks for visiting my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great review! I just added it to my list!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy to report that I am number 1 on the reserve list at my local library for this book (it's on order). Thanks for the review, I found this because of you :).

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hope all of you enjoy this book as much as I did.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Written by a physicist ! No wonder the characters are so complex.I would love to read this book.Sounds wonderful to me !

    ReplyDelete
  25. The characters sounds very interesting and I'm interested to know more about Mattia and Alice. Thanks for the review, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is the 2nd review I've read for this book, it sounds like a beautiful read. I don't remember anything mentioned about it being in translation though, interesting ...

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.