I don’t know how I came to buy Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers. It might be that I saw it mentioned on TIME magazines best summer reads or some list like that. Regardless of where I heard about it, I ordered it online and immediately got into it once it arrived. Summary and review after the jump (warning; some tiny spoilers-which pretty much already happen in the first 10 pages- but still, I don’t want to hear any whining that I didn’t warn you; so there!)
The novel follows two characters from a young age, throughout their adolescence, their twenties, and well into their thirties. Alice is from a well do to family who is forced by her father to take skiing lessons even though she hates it, an unfortunate accident leaves her handicapped to a limited extent. The other main character, is Mattia, a young boy who seems outgoing enough, though his sister, who is mentally disabled and clings to her brother, does not enable Mattia to express himself fully. Once again like with Alice, a small accident alters Mattia entirely and he closes himself off from everyone around him. While at first the story follows these two characters separately, their paths intertwine when they meet each other at school; Alice is doing her best to fit in with the popular crowd while Mattia is doing his best to remain invisible. Both however sense something wrong within the other and they form an unlikely friendship. This friendship goes on as the years pass, though they encounter many roadblocks that if absent could have led to a different type of relationship between the two. Yeah, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
The novel is written very well for a first time writer- I’m sure it’s probably even better in the original Italian, But seeing as how my Italian is limited to stereotypical phrases, I’ll have to rely on the English Translation. One main con with the novel is that the characters are very unlikable. I found myself relating to both Alice’s Father and Mattia’s parents. They seem to feel guilty for the way their children came out, and their kids are pretty awful to them, even if it’s not intentional. And then I catch myself and I realize that neither Mattia or Alice asked to turn out this way, that what affected them happened at a very early age and they had no idea it would have such large repercussions. I remember breaking a small paperweight when I was about 9 and I pretty much regarded it as the world ending even though Iit had just been an accident, I had no way of knowing it was such a minor thing; sadly for both Mattia and Alice, their encounter with the unfortunate was much more serious. Still, for people in genereally good health, they both seem the be getting in their own way for their happiness. Alice is actively destroying relationships left and right and though I feel bad for her, I also feel bad for the people at the other end because they don’t know why she’s behaving the way she is. Like her, Mattia keeps everything bottled up inside and it’s just crunchy watching him interacting with other people. Most of the time I kept thinking. Oh My Fucking God!!! Just talk to each other, tell each other or someone how you feel or what you’re so angry or worried about. While there is obvious chemistry, I didn’t want them to be together, even though they do deserve each other, if only to keep them from hurting other people. I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading the book. It really is a wonderfully written book, featuring characters that are far from wonderful.
You can buy The Solitude of Prime Numbers here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Solitude-Prime-Numbers-Paolo-Giordano/9780143118596/?a_aid=Jonathandesouza (Don’t forget, you’ll be getting a free quotemark-bookmark which gives you a chance to win cool stuff. read more here :http://lookonmywordsyemighty.blogspot.nl/2013/07/free-stuff-and-chance-to-win-even-more_22.html )
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