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Leaning Towards Infinity by Sue Woolfe

Leaning Towards Infinity (original 1996; edition 1998)

by Sue Woolfe (Author)

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124597,109 (3.42)7
Title:Leaning Towards Infinity
Authors:Sue Woolfe (Author)
Info:Women's Press Ltd,The (1998), 404 pages
Collections:Your library

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Leaning Towards Infinity by Sue Woolfe (1996)



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Showing 5 of 5
My husband bought this for me (for the naked woman I'm sure). It is one of the most beautiful books I have every ready. I loved the hypnotising mathematics. ( )
  lberriman | Mar 5, 2011 |
Great to read a novel taking on the topic of maths and mathematicians. Really enjoyed this one, the structure of the novel is something really unique with many strands seeming to wind to towards each other. ( )
  booksbooks11 | Jul 2, 2008 |
Winner of the New South Wales Premier's Prize, this is a wonderful and at times challenging novel of mothers, mother guilt, mothering, mathematics, obsession, thwarted genius, the indifference and chauvinism of conservative academia, the earnest hopes, and at times sexual envy of the overlooked daughter seeking her mother's approval.

The allusions to mathematics was good fun, and I got the mother guilt, and the feminist outrage. ( )
  merry10 | Feb 1, 2008 |
I wanted this book to continue. I loved it. I read it about the same time as some other books ...Hanna's Daughters was one, and I thought it had every bit as much to say about mother-daughter relationships. Also 'Gut Symmetries' by Janette Winterson, which I did not like...this had more to say about the mathematical woman genius.
It makes the point rendered over and over by Dale Spencer in 'Women of Ideas and What Men have Done To Them' but in a fictionalised account, well plotted and without the hyperbole to which Spender is prone.

Woolfe is a good writer, and her use of language approaches the delights of Arundhati Roy in God of mall Things (but never surpasses). ( )
  saliero | Jun 24, 2007 |
A demanding, but very rewarding exploration of the destructiveness of unrecognised genius, through the lives of three generations of women. The mother is on the verge of discovering a new form of mathematics, but is driven mad by social isolation and betrayal. The narrator, her daughter, attempts to piece together her work. Meanwhile, her daughter is trying to get her attention ... A stunning novel. ( )
  pamplemousse | May 10, 2006 |
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To Gordon, who leans towards infinity every now and then
First words
I think it all began because of the shape of my mother's breasts.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
"This is not my story. It is the story of Frances Montrose, an Australian woman with no formal mathematics training who carried across the world, in a borrowed suitcase bulging with a friend's balldresses, something no one knew about. The discovery of a new number.

"I can barely add up so I can't tell you much about her mathematics. Only to say she was a genius. And she was my mother, my love, my emptiness. Her mathematics was her secret passion and her curse. And my curse too.

"Hypatia Montrose"

First Paragraph:

I think it all began because of the shape of my mother's breasts. And it definitely began with something my mother wrote on the margin of a page stuck on the wall: Frege said that the straight line connecting any two points is already here before we draw it. Underneath it, she'd made two dots, pressing the nib of her fountain pen so hard the swelling scarlet ink stained the white paper. She always wrote in scarlet ink until she went mad.

And of course, there was the advertisement. Many things became linked because of it, in the way that you might be sitting in a cafe and suddenly a stranger stands at the door in an ordinary brown coat, but because of the fall of light on the brown coat you cry out, fragments from the past are linking and unwinding in you.

Or a man might walk across a room wrapped in a white towel, with windows behind him, nothing more momentous than windows, and mountains are behind the windows, only mountains, but their light is turning him emerald, turquoise, purple - so he moves inside a jewel, and tears start in your eyes.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0091832284, Paperback)

Sue Woolfe's biography states that she knows nothing about mathematics. With the central event of her novel set in 1994, she ought to have had a fairly easy job of finding out how math is done and discussed nowadays, and who does it and why. However, Woolfe's determination to humiliate her main character, middle-aged prodigy Frances Montrose, with the scorn of a unanimously badly behaved, testosterone-driven male mathematical establishment leads to her to untruth, fatally undermining the premise and effect of her novel. Deliberately demonizing men as mates and as mathematicians is sexism of the worst kind. The multigenerational familial dissonance and harmony of this book, its redeeming features, are lost in Woolfe's caricaturing of men and women and a science she does not understand.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Story of three women - mother, daughter, grand daughter - who are bound not only by the inescapable family ties but also by the mysterious and exotic world of mathematics.

(summary from another edition)

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