Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” as Want to Read:
The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,573 Ratings  ·  2,769 Reviews
He had learned his lesson. Choices are made in a few seconds and paid for in the time that remains.

A prime number is inherently a solitary thing: it can only be divided by itself, or by one; it never truly fits with another. Alice and Mattia also move on their own axes, alone with their personal tragedies. As a child Alice's overbearing father drove her first to a terrible
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 2009 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Solitude of Prime Numbers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south, fiction
This book is going to be big. But, people still don't know that, people still haven't heard about Paolo Giordano and his brilliant, brilliant work called, 'The solitude of prime numbers'', which stands on the same magnificent title throne with Kundera’s, ''Unbearable lightness of being''. And The solitude of prime numbers, easy to say, broke my heart.

Primary numbers are natural numbers that are divided only with number 1 and itself. In this book, in a human form of numbers, Alice and Mattia are
Aug 21, 2012 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book moments ago and find myself irritated instead of thoughtful. I want to love this novel, it's unusual, bleak, as real and demanding as gum stuck to your shoe, but there is no payoff for my time spent with it. Each painstakingly set-up scenario of adolescent and adult angst/trauma is left dangling like a series of complicated esher drawings that lead nowhere and are partially erased.

The author's style is raw and minimal. He's able to occupy a girl/woman's psyche as seamlessly
Mar 04, 2014 Kelanth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
Il libro si presenta compatto, di una lunghezza di circa 30 cm e con un'altezza di circa 5 cm. (ci si scusa per l'approssimazione); presenta una sovra-coperta di carta plastificata raffigurante un'immagine di donna all'interno di un fitto boscame. Se andiamo a togliere la copertina possiamo notare che la parte sottostante è rigida e verde con stampigliato a lato il titolo del libro.
Possiamo altre sì notare che le pagine sono di carta e numerate, l'inchiostro di stampa è nero, se andiamo a consid
May 02, 2012 Chavi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The idea is beautiful. Compare people to numbers, compare the loneliness of people who don't know how to belong to the otherness of prime numbers, and thus imply that there could be resolution to their alienation because it's part of a logical pattern, and if they can't belong to everyone, at least they can belong to each other.

However, other than the fact that Mattia, one of the main characters, is a genius mathematician, and one passage where he introduces the concept of twin prime numbers, th
Mrs. Sor
Dec 26, 2010 Mrs. Sor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute disappointment.
One of the worst book I've ever read.
The flatness of the characters is an insult to the reader.
Sep 25, 2011 Missie rated it it was amazing
His number: 2760889966649

Her number: 2760889966651

Apparently, one is not the most loneliest number in the world.

From the moment I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down; it was completely engrossing. I can't really begin to think of an accurate way to describe the depth of solitude these two people seemingly want to seek out in their lives because it comforts them. All I know is that I found myself relating on so many levels: in making stupid decisions, in feeling socially awkward, i
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 05, 2011 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it
I have read other reviews and many people enjoyed the first half best, as did I. I believe the reason being that our youth is bittersweet, even the horrors we suffer from it. The early days for a detached Mattia are spoiled by a tragedy he is responsible for. I was shocked and saddened by the ramifications a choice made as a child seemed to carry for him. One thing I must add, I didn't like how the writer jumped from that tragedy to the future because I really wanted to know what happened in the ...more
Callie S.
Jul 11, 2012 Callie S. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Io non ce l’ho con Paolo Giordano perché ha scritto un libro mediocre ed applauditissimo (probabilmente) per lo stesso motivo.
Non ce l’ho neppure con l’ignoranza del mio Paese che, in termini culturali, credo stia messo su per giù come un trenta per cento degli abitanti delle favelas brasiliane (il restante settanta per cento, in loco, si arrabatta per vivere e pensa. In Italia, purtroppo, non hanno ancora istituito un master che supplisca a questo inspiegabile deficit educativo).
Non ce l’ho
Me l'hanno prestato, senza che lo chiedessi, anche se prevedevo che, prima o poi, ci sarei cascata, con un titolo così... accattivante!
Il protagonista, Mattia, è un matematico, ma pensa con la testa di un fisico, quella di Giordano.
Alla fine però la mentalità scientifica si risolve in un atteggiamento maniacale e si riduce a distorsioni mentali.
La scrittura è scorrevole, sì.
La lettura è veloce. Troppo per i temi narrati.
I problemi sono seri, le malattie vere, di cui però sembra ne
Laura Stone Johnson
Despite the glowing reviews, this book was too depressing for me. The Italian award-winning Physicist author, Paolo Giordano, has a polished minimalist style that I admired, but the characters were, ultimately, so damaged, insular and cold that the book may well have been titled, "The Abject Loneliness of Dysfunctional People." The real title reflects the mathematical fluke of “special primes,” prime numbers that are close, such as 13 and 15, but ultimately still separate. It also describes the ...more
This was embarrassingly bad, and the news that it has met with broad critical acclaim is infinitely depressing. Take two "damaged" stick figures, define each only in terms of their 'abnormality', surround them with the standard tableau of distant parents, cruel classmates. Make liberal use of facile, offensive stereotypes, for instance that the only conceivable career option for the emotionally retarded male basket case is to become a mathematician. Because this will allow you to sprinkle in som ...more
Aug 04, 2010 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian-lit
While all fiction emanates from the imagination it is rare that a work successfully mimics the language of dreams. The Solitude of Prime Numbers comes as close to doing so as any novel I have read in recent memory. The incidents of the characters' lives are blended together by the young author, Paolo Giordano, in a way that suggests their lives exist, fictionally, on the edge of reality. The main characters, Alice and Mattia, are in a state of continual wonder both of the world that surrounds th ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a an oddly stark book, melancholy in tone, but heartbreakingly beautiful. I often read to escape, to feel lighter, but The Solitude of Prime Numbers added weight to my heart, almost unbearably. Reading the stories of Alice and Mattia, the two damaged souls at the heart of this book, was a pleasure, but definitely not an escape. The translation from Italian is really flawless, I did not see one sentence that seemed awkward. I read The Solitude of Prime Numbers last night, but I have a fe ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hay libros que estimulan la imaginación, libros que se basan en una trama apasionante, llena de viajes a lugares exóticos o de historias fabulosas, que te permiten pasarlo bien durante un rato, que te ayudan a evadirte del mundo mientras estás imbuido en ellos. Y después están los libros de personajes como es el caso de Paolo Giordano y 'La soledad de los números primos'. Como bien reza la contraportada, "Todo el mundo reconocerá algo de sí mismo en el libro de Giordano, pues el verdadero protag ...more
The only experience that can rival reading a really great book is reading a really awful one and ripping it on goodreads; especially if, like this one, it comes with glowing recommendations. Except for some of the writing (maybe), this book had absolutely no redeeming feature. It was one of the most depressing books I have ever read, with no redemption and completely non-endearing self-involved characters who were either pathetic, sadistic, or both. You didn’t want anything good to happen to the ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Gloria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Yep ... a year later, still a solid 5 stars.

I love it when I get rocked unexpectedly by a book. The characters in this book so drew me in and seemed so utterly real (even though the book spans a couple of decades and alternates between the male and female protagonists).

On top of that, was the sheer beauty of the writing. Every so often, I would read a sentence ... stop ... and realize "Wow, that was incredible" and would have to read it again. Given that it was written originally in Italian, par
eleonora -
Oct 14, 2012 eleonora - rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiani, 2011
1 stellina e mezzo.
Dov'è il capolavoro della letteratura italiana di cui si vociferava? Io non l'ho trovato di certo in questo libro.
Carmo Santos
Sep 16, 2014 Carmo Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italia
Não foi um livro fácil, foi antes um mergulho em águas profundas e turvas.
Toda a gente conhece ou pelo menos já ouviu falar de casos como os que foram aqui expostos.
Eu conheço. E sei a luta que se trava para chegar a estes miúdos. Familiares, professores, amigos, esbarram em muros de silêncio onde ninguém penetra. Mutilar o corpo – qualquer que seja a forma – é o bálsamo para o castigo que pensam merecer. É fácil e habitual julgá-los como “desequilibrados” ou “mimados à procura de atenção”.
Oct 29, 2008 Jeane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian, italy
This book is written by the 26 years old Italian paolo Giordano, who won the premio strega with his first book this year. read it in two days and felt like I flew through it, didn't felt like putting it down and was constantly thinking to continue reading it. I had imagined or hoped it would end different but maybe that would have been too easy. Maybe better the way it did end...
Aug 14, 2015 Miguel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Quando as palavras nos parecem estéreis e insuficientes, quer dizer que temos um jardim a desabrochar dentro de nós. Há flores que despontam da tristeza. Ao contrário do que nos induzem a acreditar, a tristura não avilta nem amargura as pessoas; acede-lhes a oportunidade para reelaborarem os seus ideais e redirecionarem o caminho para a felicidade. Uns sentem-se descoroçoados para investirem novamente num futuro próspero, outros acanham-se por falta de fé. Somos nós que legislamos a nossa existê ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Sargow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
No me equivocaba cuando al empezarlo pensé que lo iba a devorar. Un día ha durado en mis manos. Un día aprendiendo sobre Mattia y Alice, sus defectos, su historia y su final. Me ha sabido a poco, necesitaba más
Olga Milemis
Oct 29, 2014 Olga Milemis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hay algo fascinante en esta hermosa y melancólica primera novela de Paolo Giordano (2008). Alice y Mattia, a quienes el lector puede acompañar desde una experiencia decisiva que cada uno de ellos ha tenido durante su infancia, parecen haberse quedado pegados al camino del sufrimiento. Alice se siente rechazada por sus padres y por sus compañeros y Mattia, por su parte, ha decidido aislarse del resto del mundo. Sus vidas se cruzan en el colegio y allí establecen una especie de amistad, que es en ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Val rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: global-extra
Warning: This review gets a bit 'geeky'.

Prime numbers are not defined in terms of other numbers; other numbers are defined by their prime factors. Primes greater than three are separated by at least one non-prime, paired primes by only one. Paired primes become less frequent as numbers get larger.
That is the mathematical truth behind Paolo Giordano's novel.
He introduces the idea that people can be defined in this way: that some people are like prime numbers and cannot be defined in terms of othe
Jan 13, 2016 Angigames rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ma-anche-no
Sostanzialmente un libro inutile.
Personaggi inutili, storia non sviluppata come meritava, finale inutile all'ennesima potenza! Non ho capito dove Giordano pensava di poter accompagnare il lettore... sostanzialmente, questo libro è una tragedia dalla prima all'ultima pagina.
Non c'è speranza, non c'è la scintilla, non c'è nulla!
#delusione estrema
Apr 24, 2014 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sort of book I always hope to find while browsing at the library, something that I've never heard of before and end up loving. To describe this book as a love story would be kind of like describing Taj Mahal as a building, apt enough but terribly inadequate. This is a story of two lost and severely damaged by childhood traumas individuals who continuously struggle to fit in with the world and each other. As far as character studies go, these ones are superb and executed with great ca ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Kitty-Wu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro con grandes pasajes, que se graban en la retina del lector. Suave, sedante... triste pero bonito al mismo tiempo. Parece que no pasa nada, pero lo lees encantada al mismo tiempo, me gusta mucho como describe las cosas Giordano. Sobre lo que nos marca para siempre. Sobre lo que no decimos, sobre lo que permanece.
Jun 01, 2009 Stan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beauty! I found the style and feel very reminiscent of a lot of novels from the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Seemed a bit "un-Italian", but in a good, stimulating way. Clever story, and --apparently the title wasn't thought up by the author -- it's the greatest title ever. I highly recommend this book.
Celeste Corrêa
4 ( quatro estrelas)

«oh coz nothing is lost, its just frozen in frost.» - Damien Rice

Logo pelo título, «A solidão dos números primos», merece, decididamente, quatro estrelas.

Como convivemos e nos conformamos com a solidão ao longo da nossa vida? Como sabemos que não virá ninguém, e já não esperamos ninguém? Como sabemos que as escolhas que fazemos em poucos segundos se descontam no tempo que resta?

«[Os números primos] São números desconfiados e solitários e, por isso, Mattia achava-os maravilho
Superou largamente as minhas expectativas. (

A Solidão dos Números Primos. Um título curioso e promissor e que pode dizer muita coisa antes mesmo de a leitura se iniciar. A minha estreia com o Paolo Giordano. Esta sua obra já granjeou várias opiniões positivas. Confesso que adquiri esta edição um pouco às cegas, sem saber se este seria o tipo de livro que eu poderia apreciar.
Ainda fiquei mais duvidosa por ter visto algumas opiniões alusivas à forma como es
Aug 11, 2013 Rihab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s 7 in the morning, and I’ve woke up at 4 am because simply I wasn’t able to sleep leaving Mattia and Alice’ story suspended like that….
“They were too real!”
It did not need any effort to see them, they were so clear, well described, well created…
Reading this book was like watching a movie. I usually don’t like this kind of writings when the writer describes everything without giving you any chance to imagine or to leave your trace over his novel. But this novel was really different, I enjoye
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • As God Commands
  • Sprakeloos
  • Vele hemels boven de zevende
  • Quiet Chaos
  • Il dolore perfetto
  • Komt een vrouw bij de dokter
  • Don't Move
  • The Angel Maker
  • Accabadora
  • Das Labyrinth der Wörter
  • Acciaio
  • Ragionevoli dubbi
  • De helaasheid der dingen
  • Gut gegen Nordwind (Gut gegen Nordwind, #1)
  • Malombra
  • Someone to Run With
  • Allemaal willen we de hemel
  • Il giorno in più
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Paolo Giordano is a professional physicist and is currently working on a doctorate in particle physics. The Solitude of Prime Numbers, his first novel, took Italy by storm where it has sold over a million copies. It is being translated into twenty languages and has sold all
More about Paolo Giordano...

Share This Book

“Choices are made in brief seconds and paid for in the time that remains.” 155 likes
“People took what they wanted, they clutched at coincidences, the few there were, and made a life from them. . . . Choices are made in brief seconds and paid for in the time that remains.” 119 likes
More quotes…