Must-read fiction

The internationally acclaimed bestseller The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano is now in paperback. It is truly must-read fiction. Our Alice Farnsworth considers it one of the new best works of literature.

Here is Alice’s review:

 
A prime number can be divided only by itself or by one; it never truly fits with another. Both Alice and Mattia are primes, misfits damaged in childhood. They are lonely, miscast children who suffer overwhelming trauma, further isolating them. 
 
When she is eight, Alice is crippled by a devastating skiing accident. She blames her father and her emotionally absent mother. Mattia, clearly a genius, is burdened by his mentally-handicapped twin, and abandons her in a park, thus avoiding the embarrassment of taking her with him to a birthday party. When he returns hours later, she has disappeared, never to be found. As they grow into their teens, both Alice and Mattia punish themselves with self-mutilation, their outer wounds reflecting their inner agony. Alice and Mattia meet in their teens, recognizing in each kindred spirits. Their destinies seem irrevocably intertwined, but they are later separated.
 
Paolo Giordano’s writing is pointed and direct but aptly descriptive, creating an atmosphere of solitude. As readers, we feel like phantoms, along with Alice and Mattia. At the same time, the author has created a good, well-paced, and well-told story. There doesn’t seem to be a single misplaced word.
 
Paolo Giordano is a 27-year-old particle physicist. He wrote this, his first novel, as a hobby, but now The Solitude of Prime Numbers has been translated into more than 30 languages. Giordano is the youngest winner of Italy’s premier literary award. The British newspaper The Independent called him "a promising hope for the future of Italian literature." 
 
He is writing his second novel. It will be interesting to see whether it can possibly be better than this first.
 
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