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Soledad Numeros Primos by Paolo Giordano

Soledad Numeros Primos (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Paolo Giordano

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2,6401452,264 (3.55)1 / 76
Title:Soledad Numeros Primos
Authors:Paolo Giordano
Info:SALAMANDRA (2009), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (2008)


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English (60)  Dutch (38)  Italian (16)  Spanish (12)  Catalan (7)  German (5)  Finnish (3)  French (2)  Basque (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
A rare book, this one. Before I started it, I read some reviews about the lack of character depth in the story and the disappointment resulting from it with some readers. Being prepared for that, I didn't find it all that disturbing. I rather believe it was done intentionally, since the two main characters are all about personalities that are nearly impossible to penetrate into.

Two things are keeping me from giving it the ultimate 5-star rating. First of all, I often found the story simply *too* depressing. Hardly anything simply positive or enjoyable seems to happen. Secondly, I really didn't like the ending. I finished the book feeling rather unsatisfied with it.

Nevertheless, it's a very enjoyable read. Like I said, a rare book and one to cherish. ( )
  bbbart | May 30, 2015 |
Did you ever stand on the edge of the crowd, unbelonging and unable to turn away? If you did, you’ll see something of yourself hidden in Alice or Mattia, both wounded by their childhood attempts to escape. Calming the mind with numbers, soothing the body with pain, starving their thoughts and their feelings, they suddenly find themselves thrown together, with each’s dark unbalance harmonizing the other, and childhood ends.

Of course, childhood’s end is messy, inconvenient, and fraught with conflicting purpose. But Paulo Giordano tells the tale of his misfits with beautifully well-fitted words, complex turns of phrase that fly from the page and soar, and fragile emotions aching to be seen instead of ignored.

As plans fail and lives flail, growing apart replaces growing together for these two stranded characters. A chance encounter might restore what’s lost, but there’s a core of genuine, unpredictable feeling underneath the mathematical precisions of separation. The novel slowly opens to reveal a view wider than mountainscapes, deeper than rivers, and more honest than fiction is usually allowed to be. If you want glib and easy, this isn’t the book for you. If you want gritty, broken, and quietly healed, it is.

Disclosure: A friend loaned me her copy, correctly guessing I would really enjoy it. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | May 15, 2015 |
I read this as part of Book Riot's Read Harder challenge (it satisfies the "book that was originally published in another language" requirement). It's a good story. I'd give it 3.5 stars if they'd let me. It didn't blow me away, but it's a good story. It reminded me of "Perks of Being a Wallflower" in some parts, and of "Love in the Time of Cholera" in others. Both Mattia and Alice are somewhat tragic characters, very well-drawn and interesting. ( )
  KimHooperWrites | May 2, 2015 |
Alice and Mattia are two misfits who gravitate toward each other as teens both scarred by tragedy: Alice has been permanently damaged in a skiing accident and will never be the championship skier she thought, and mathematically brilliant Mattia is responsible for the disappearance of his mentally challenged twin sister. Alice and Mattia interact on and off through the years, each in a parallel orbit, never really sharing the same emotional space. Summary LJ BookSmack

Loved, loved, loved the concept of personifying twin primes (prime= number divisible only by 1 and itself; twin primes= prime numbers sequentially close, separated by an even number) as physically and emotionally scarred young adults incapable of sharing their love or themselves! Suddenly, temporarily, humanity has resolved itself into primes and non-primes for me.....it's so obvious--people who don't "fit in" versus popular, "shared" people--I wonder how I could have missed it for so long!

Twin primes, however, make for tough reading. Giordano describes them thus:

Among prime numbers there are some that are even more special. Mathematicians call them twin primes: pairs 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.

It's pretty depressing. THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS isn't labelled as young adult, but I'm wondering if that is his targeted audience. If Giordano is dramatizing the often awful struggles of adolescent relationships (20s too) where you feel stuck in your separateness that is at the same time parallel to others' separateness.... Does that make sense?

Anyway, be prepared for not terribly likeable people and LOTS of unexpectedly, understandably, prime numbered people not sharing themselves. Giordano helps you understand rather than judge them. Strong book club novel. Resonant psychological read. But sad.

P.S. Surely the cover image represents the opposite of twin primes?!

7.5 out 10 Cautiously recommended to fans of psychological fiction and to readers who like to deepen their understanding of the human condition. ( )
  julie10reads | Sep 25, 2014 |
Alice is an anorexic rich girl. Mattia is a mathematical genius who is carrying around a guilty secret. Neither has been successful at forming bonds with other human beings, and both of them have scars, both literal and figurative, that the rest of the world actively ignores. But maybe they could truly connect with each other, if they'd ever let themselves.

OK, that sort of makes it sound like it might be a cheesy romance. It's really, really not. In fact, I found it rather painful to read, not so much because it contains bullying and self-harm and other disturbing and depressing subjects, but because I so badly wanted to reach through the pages and smack both of them until they made different choices, said what they were thinking, and started treating themselves better. But it was mostly the good kind of pain, and the "Aargh, I care about these characters and they keep making me suffer with them!" kind of wanting to smack them, not the, "Aargh, the author has made these characters too annoying and stupid!" kind.

The writing is very good, even in translation: simple and understated and rather compelling. There is, perhaps, something that feels slightly artificial in how pure these characters are in their isolation and their damage, if that makes sense. But I think there's also something that feels true in it, anyway, so that ultimately, it works. I'm not entirely sure about the ending, which had just enough ambiguity to leave me mildly troubled, but in principle, at least, I think it's probably better than any of the possible endings I was imagining. ( )
1 vote bragan | Apr 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
The Solitude of Prime Numbers hints at the scientific background of its 27-year-old Italian author. Paolo Giordano is completing a PhD in Physics in Turin, while also winning the country's most prestigious literary prize, Premio Strega, selling over one million copies all over the world, and writing short stories and columns for the Italian press.

Giordano's first novel tells the story of two solitary adolescents: he compares them to "special" prime numbers such as 11, 13, 17, 41 and 43. These numbers can only be divided by one and themselves – they live parallel lives without ever touching. This is the story of Alice and Mattia, two extraordinary beings who will live parallel destinies, developing a friendship without ever becoming romantically involved.

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Giordano, Paoloprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baar, Marry vanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casassas, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geuzebroek, MiekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voogd, Pietha deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whiteside, ShaunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Her old aunt's elaborately trimmed dress was a perfect fit for Sylvie's slender figure and she asked me to lace it up for her. "The sleeves are plain; how ridiculous!" she said.
—Gerard de Nerval, Sylvie, 1853
To Eleonora
because in silence
I promised it to you
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Alice Della Rocca hated ski school.
It happened in films and it happened in reality, every day. People took what they wanted, they clutched at coincidences, the few that there were, and from them they drew a life.
Feeling special is the worst kind of cage that a person can build for himself.
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Book description
Alice é obrigada pelo pai a frequentar um curso de esqui para ser forte e competitiva, mas um acidente terrível deixará marcas no seu corpo para sempre. Mattia é um menino muito inteligente cuja irmã gémea é deficiente. Quando são convidados para uma festa de anos, ele deixa-a sozinha num banco de jardim e nunca mais torna a vê-la. Estes dois episódios irreversíveis marcarão a vida de ambos para sempre. Quando estes "números primos" se encontram são como gémeos, que partilham uma dor muda que mais ninguém pode compreender. Ganhou o prémio Stregga e a menção honrosa do Campiello, os dois prémios literários mais importantes de Itália, e está a ser traduzido em mais de 20 países.

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Alice and Mattia are both misfits who seem destined to be alone. Haunted by childhood tragedies that mark their lives, they cannot reach out to anyone else. When Alice and Mattia meet as teenagers, they recognize in each other a kindred, damaged spirit. When Mattia accepts a research position that takes him thousands of miles away, the two are forced to separate. Then a chance occurrence reunites them, forcing a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface.… (more)

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