The Indian Clerk: Book summary and reviews of The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt

The Indian Clerk

A Novel

By David Leavitt

The Indian Clerk
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2007,
    496 pages.

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Book Summary

On a January morning in 1913, G. H. Hardy—eccentric, charismatic and, at thirty-seven, already considered the greatest British mathematician of his age—receives in the mail a mysterious envelope covered with Indian stamps. Inside he finds a rambling letter from a self-professed mathematical genius who claims to be on the brink of solving the most important unsolved mathematical problem of all time. Some of his Cambridge colleagues dismiss the letter as a hoax, but Hardy becomes convinced that the Indian clerk who has written it—Srinivasa Ramanujan—deserves to be taken seriously. Aided by his collaborator, Littlewood, and a young don named Neville who is about to depart for Madras with his wife, Alice, he determines to learn more about the mysterious Ramanujan and, if possible, persuade him to come to Cambridge. It is a decision that will profoundly affect not only his own life, and that of his friends, but the entire history of mathematics.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Leavitt packs too much into the epic-length proceedings, at the expense of pace." - PW.

"Starred Review. Excellent…highly recommended." - Library Journal.

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This, Leavitt's 12th novel, centers on the relationship between British mathematician G.H. Hardy (1877–1947) and Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 – 1920), who is regarded as one of the greatest mathematical minds of all time.

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