A prime number can only be divided by itself or by oneit never truly fits with another. Alice and Mattia, both "primes," are misfits who seem destined to be alone. Haunted by childhood tragedies that mark their lives, they cannot reach out to anyone else. When Alice and Mattia meet as teenagers, they recognize in each other a kindred, damaged spirit.
But the mathematically gifted Mattia accepts a research position that takes him thousands of miles away, and the two are forced to separate. Then a chance occurrence reunites them and forces a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface.
Like Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is a stunning meditation on loneliness, love, and the weight of childhood experience that is set to become a universal classic.
Alice Della Rocca hated ski school. She hated getting up at seven-thirty, even during Christmas vacation. She hated her father staring at her over breakfast, his leg dancing nervously under the table as if to say hurry up, get a move on. She hated the woolen tights that made her thighs itch, the mittens that kept her from moving her fingers, the helmet that squashed her cheeks, and the big, too tight boots that made her walk like a gorilla.
“Are you going to drink that milk or not?” her father insisted again.
Alice gulped down three inches of boiling milk, burning her tongue, throat, and stomach.
“Good, today you can show us what you’re really made of.”
What’s that? Alice wondered.
He shoved her out the door, mummified in a green ski suit dotted with badges and the fluorescent logos of the sponsors. It was 14 degrees and a gray fog enveloped everything. Alice felt the milk swirling around in her stomach as she sank into the ...
Those who have an interest in psychology - we who are obsessed with why people do the things they do, all the inner workings of humans - will find much to like here. Virtually all of this book happens inside someone's head... The tiny instances that become founding principles in a person's actions; the thoughtless word or action that ruins a relationship - these things are laid bare in the lives of two children as they grow to adulthood... This book is not a fairy tale, so there is no happy ending wrapped up in a bow. What we get is an ending worthy of the story, with hope for those willing to make a different choice. The book is not long or complicated, but once I started liking these people, I was pulled along by the desire to see these people let just one person truly know them.
(Reviewed by Beverly Melven).
Full Review (1045 words).
Prime numbers are apparently a big deal in the math world - a place I have visited but not inhabited often. Most of us probably remember that prime numbers are numbers only divisible by themselves and 1, but otherwise don't know (or care) much about them.
The ancient Greeks were the first to give serious study to prime numbers, as far back as 500 BC. After much math excitement, it seems that not much was learned from about 200 BC until the Renaissance. New strides were made again with the advent of computers that could do millions of equations to prove or disprove the presence of prime numbers yet to be discovered.
Currently, the largest known prime number has 1209780189 digits. And there are websites with lists of the largest ...
If you liked The Solitude of Prime Numbers, try these:
The inaugural installment of what will become an annual anthology of stories from across Europe.
An engrossing and thoroughly contemporary novel on what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new century.
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