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The Parrot's Theorem (1998)

by Denis Guedj

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7071123,248 (3.22)6
"When Mr. Ruche, a reclusive Parisian bookseller, receives a letter from a long lost friend in the Amazon bequesting him a vast library of mathematical books, he is propelled into a great exploration of the story of maths, from brilliant Greek thinkers, such as Archimedes and Pythagoras, to the modern-day genius Fermat." "Meanwhile Max, a deaf boy whose dysfunctional family live with Mr. Ruche, finds a voluble parrot in a local fleamarket. He turns out to be a bird who discusses maths with anyone who will listen. So when Mr. Ruche learns of his friend's mysterious death in the rainforests of Brazil he decides that with the parrot's help he will use these books to teach Max and his twin brother and sister the mysteries of Euclid's Elements, Pythagoras' Theorem and the countless other wonders of numbers and shapes." "But soon it becomes clear that Mr. Ruche has inherited the library for reasons other than pure enlightenment, and before he knows it the household are caught up in a race to prevent vital theorems falling into the wrong hands."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
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» See also 6 mentions

English (5)  German (2)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 5 of 5
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2824398.html

A fictional Sophie's World type of story about three children and a retired bookseller discovering the history of mathematics. There is a rather ridiculous plot involving Fermat's Last Theorem and gangsters who operate between Brazil and Sicily. It possibly reads better in the original French. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 25, 2017 |
Il teorema del pappagallo e’ da consigliare a chi è terrorizzato dalla matematica: scoprirà che è un mondo affascinante e per nulla arido . E’ un libro gradevole , con alcune parti spassosissime come ad esempio la misura della piramide in unità di "taleti", ed e’ semplice nella sua complessità. La trama non e’ solo un mero preteso per raccontare la storia della matematica, e’ avvincente e con personaggi ben delineati e deliziosi, pappagallo compreso . ( )
  mara4m | Jun 8, 2011 |
An attempt to tell the history of mathematics from the Greeks to the present day in the guise of a novel...and not a very good novel at that. The mathematics is at times misunderstood and at times flawed. There are misquoted formulae and bizarre statements, "all new mathematics is just sets." There are strange non-sequiters, one of the central characters who is confined to a wheelchair walks across the room to put the kettle on. The book is translated from French but the translator has attempted to give it an "English" air by making the characters perform in an English manner (drink tea on a regular basis etc.) and speak with a cockney accent while still living in Paris. All distinctly odd! There are better books on the history of maths and better novels. ( )
2 vote shushokan | May 14, 2011 |
One of the most interesting books I have ever read, and perhaps the luckiest purchase too - I picked it up from a bargain bin in a remaindered book shop.Wrapped loosely around a plot of sorts, the Parrot's Theorem takes the reader through a history of mathematics, and is by turns wonderfully accessible, fun, intriguing and absorbing.If you ever spot it in a book shop, make sure you pick it up. ( )
  jonbeckett | Mar 31, 2010 |
Fun detective story about the search for Fermat's Last Theorem. Uses the device of a novel to explain the history and significance of math to the lay person--very effective. Translated from the French, and coincidentally, I read this during a week's vacation in the Cognac region.You don't need to be a mathematician to enjoy this book. ( )
  jaygheiser | Jul 31, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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"When Mr. Ruche, a reclusive Parisian bookseller, receives a letter from a long lost friend in the Amazon bequesting him a vast library of mathematical books, he is propelled into a great exploration of the story of maths, from brilliant Greek thinkers, such as Archimedes and Pythagoras, to the modern-day genius Fermat." "Meanwhile Max, a deaf boy whose dysfunctional family live with Mr. Ruche, finds a voluble parrot in a local fleamarket. He turns out to be a bird who discusses maths with anyone who will listen. So when Mr. Ruche learns of his friend's mysterious death in the rainforests of Brazil he decides that with the parrot's help he will use these books to teach Max and his twin brother and sister the mysteries of Euclid's Elements, Pythagoras' Theorem and the countless other wonders of numbers and shapes." "But soon it becomes clear that Mr. Ruche has inherited the library for reasons other than pure enlightenment, and before he knows it the household are caught up in a race to prevent vital theorems falling into the wrong hands."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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