read: the solitude of prime numbers.

Prime Numbers

“The Solitude of Prime Numbers” is the debut novel of Italian writer Paolo Giordano. It’s wonderful. One of those books I finish and sigh, wishing I could write something as good.

There is no procrastination in this book. Giordano gets right into the meat of the story, introducing us first to Alice and then to Mattia. Both characters experience something traumatic early in life–and in chapters one and two, we witness the trauma firsthand. I was hooked immediately in this book, wanting to know how the early events affected the rest of Alice and Mattia’s lives.

The book jumps ahead in years, providing vignettes of important events as the characters grow into adults. Alice and Mattia find each other in high school, though it never struck me as a strong connection. Because the teaser on the back of the book reads in part, “Years later, a chance encounter reunites them and forces a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface. But can two prime numbers ever find a way to be together?” I was intrigued about how these two would find their way to each other after high school.

Mattia moves out of the country to pursue his career, while Alice flounders a bit, eventually marrying a doctor she met while her mom was in the hospital.

The book easily kept me engaged until the end, even with a large break in the middle while I read 1Q84, which had shown up from the library after a long wait (I had to finish that one before the library due date, and was sad to put this book down).

My favorite part of this book? The ending felt real. It wasn’t necessarily happy or sad, but felt complete and in line with the characters. Giordano did an excellent job of creating believable, well-rounded characters, and creating a compelling plot. Overall, it was a book I didn’t want to stop reading.


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