the Solitude of Prime Numbers

Giordano, Paolo. The Solitude of Prime Numbers. New York: Penguin Books, 2009.

Reason read: for fun…because my sister said so.

I don’t know what it was about this book that made it so difficult to read. I must have picked it up and put it down a hundred times before I finally got to the last page. It wasn’t that it was a horribly written book. In fact, just the opposite. It was so beautiful in a haunting, painful way that I could only read it in short bursts.

Alice and Mattia are two misfit loners who accidentally find each other as teenagers at a birthday party. Despite the fact they are thrown together on a malicious dare, they develop a bond of solidarity. To quote Pink Floyd, they were “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl” recognizing the loneliness in each other. Except, their friendship does not develop as one normally would. They remain just as singular (primary, as the title suggests) as if they had never met.

Quotes that moved me, “They lived the slow and invisible interpenetration of their universes, like two stars gravitating around a common axis, in ever tighter orbits, whose clear destiny it to coalesce at some point in time” (p 136). Someone else liked that line. It was marked in the book. And, “Every one of them had a love that had rotted alone in their hearts” (p 144).

A lot like Rob Roberge’s Liar, I found this book took me a really long time to read. As I said with Liar, it wasn’t that the story wasn’t interesting. Only that it was too lonely for words.

Author fact: Solitude is Paolo Giordano’s first book.

Book trivia: Solitude won Giordano the Premio Straga award.


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