This was HILARIOUS! I love the puzzle that is an Oscar Wilde play, with all the misunderstandings between characters and fraught interactions. I loveThis was HILARIOUS! I love the puzzle that is an Oscar Wilde play, with all the misunderstandings between characters and fraught interactions. I love the little smirky contrasts in his dialogue, too, because they make his characters all the more ridiculous. I've never enjoyed reading someone's plays more....more
This book was a pretty painful read. It's been a little over a month since I've read it, and it didn't leave much of a mark except that I remember beiThis book was a pretty painful read. It's been a little over a month since I've read it, and it didn't leave much of a mark except that I remember being very bored ... and very happy that it was short.
Siddhartha is self-indulgent asshole. Kind of funny considering he joins the samanas, a travelling group of ascetics who live off as little as they can and deny themselves the most basic of life's pleasures. But he really does come off as a narcissistic dickhead when he tells Buddha that his teachings don't do it for him and that it would be best if he found his own path in life. Fair enough, but then he ends up spending most of his life as a rich sellout. This would be cool if he didn't spend so much time whining about it.
Then he "sees the light." He leaves his rich life to live with a canoe paddler who swears the river tells him everything he needs to know about life. But as far as I'm concerned, the river can fuck off because even after years of listening to it, Siddhartha is still a total loser.
The only thing that somewhat redeems this book is the last ten pages, when Siddhartha finally shuts the fuck up for a minute and stops pestering the reader with his quest to find the meaning of life. But everything before that sucks. SHUT IT DOWN. I don't know what was worse, actually reading the book or wading through the pretentious dribble that was the analytical introduction. It was all pretty dire....more
The Solitude of Prime Numbers was written by an overachiever. Paolo Giordano is 27, a professional physicist, and "currently working on a doctorate inThe Solitude of Prime Numbers was written by an overachiever. Paolo Giordano is 27, a professional physicist, and "currently working on a doctorate in particle physics." He's also the youngest winner of the Premio Strega award for The Solitude of Prime Numbers, his first novel which turned out to be a slam dunk. And if all that wasn't enough, he's cute as a button. So it turns out this author is a debonair scientist with a sensitive artsy alter-ego who just happens to write award-winning books on the side.
Daaaaa-yum, Paolo. You're a winner!
I can understand why this is an award-winning book. The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a solid beginning for a novelist, especially someone as young as Giordano. I loved the main thematic weave of the narrative: twin primes existing closely together but never able to walk through life totally side by side. Twin primes are numbers like 3 and 5, which are both prime numbers that are separated by a single digit. In The Solitude of Prime Numbers Alice and Mattia are twin primes in that they are kindred spirits brought together by personal tragedy, yet there is always a wall between them that prevents their connection from cementing. It's a wonderful and interesting concept.
Despite the awkwardness of the characters, Giordano strikes a near-perfect balance between minimalist writing and beautiful description. His style is almost simplistic, although I wouldn't characterize that as a bad thing. In fact, I think he succeeds in what Goldengrove by Francine Prose failed to do: capture awkwardness and mourning in the overall sweep of language. All of Solitude's characters are sad about something they've lost and will never get back, and this is reflected in their stunted and not-quite-fulfilling relationships. Even Alice and Mattia, who are pretty much the modern definition of "soul mates", can't ever connect the way they should because they can't overcome the trauma they experienced as children. It's a great blown-up example of the long-term impact certain events can have on us even when they're long over.
I hope Giordano finds time in his busy scientist schedule to write another novel, because I would definitely pick it up. I think he should just give up the whole science gig altogether, as everyone knows it's a pipe dream and that there's a real future in books anyway. ...more