The Solitude Of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

Author: Paolo Giordano

Publisher : Pamela Dorman Books

Pages : 288

Format  : Kindle e-book

Kindleandkompass rating : 4/5

The solitude of prime numbers is a translated version by Shaun Whiteside, but originally written by an Italian author Paolo Giordano. This book is about the lives of two misfits, Alice and Mattia. They are survivors of childhood trauma and stand as the odd ones out .While one is rejected by the world, the other rejects the world. They come together like a pair of twin prime numbers and build a friendship that is silent. They then drift away slowly pursuing their life and passion , ignoring the pain of loneliness , holding secrets of their childhood that impacted their lives. I came across this book after being suggested by a friend. I was skeptical about reading melancholy, but gave it a try and I do not regret a bit.

“Mathematicians call them twin primes: pair of prime numbers that are close to each other, almost neighbors, but between them there is always an even number that prevents them from truly touching. Numbers like 11 and 13, like 17 and 19, 41 and 43. If you have the patience to go on counting, you discover that these pairs gradually become rarer. You encounter increasingly isolated primes, lost in that silent, measured space made only of ciphers, and you develop a distressing presentiment that the pairs encountered up until that point were accidental, that solitude is the true destiny. Then, just when you’re about to surrender, when you no longer have the desire to go on counting, you come across another pair of twins, clutching each other tightly. There is a common conviction among mathematicians that however far you go, there will always be another two, even if no one can say where exactly, until they are discovered.
Mattia thought that he and Alice were like that, twin primes, alone and lost, close but not close enough to really touch each other. “

Firstly, this is such a  beautiful book that is raw and deeply poignant.The idea of comparing two lonely people to prime numbers is beautiful,but heartbreaking. How did the author being a student of particle physics come up with such an unusual idea of comparison!!!

The characters are slowly crafted as the narration moves and you will love them for the way they are. They feel so authentic and simple. Alice and Mattia may not charm you as you begin to read, but their flaws and genuineness will make you want to read more about them.

“You’ll get used to it. In the end you won’t even notice it anymore,” he said.

“How is that possible? It will always be there, right before my eyes.”

“Exactly,” said Mattia. “Which is precisely why you won’t see it anymore.”

I was hoked on to the book right from the beginning for its non fussy style of narration and dialogues that are simple and plain like in our everyday live. But that also sometimes made the narration going on a flat course. There are few characters and situations that are incomplete even towards the denouement. This is not a very uplifting or  a happening book making a  happy ending, but it is consoling and you will finish in a day or two to know what happens with Alice and Mattia at the end.

Overall, the solitude of prime numbers is a melancholy read ,but strangely beautiful.

If you think this is your kind of book, here are a few more from our suggestions that are of similar genre and you might enjoy reading.

All The Lives We Never Lived 

This House of Clay and Water. A Story of Forbidden Love in Pakistan

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