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558 pages, Hardcover
First published February 16, 2016
Math is a wonderful thing
Math is a really cool thing
So get off your "ath"
Let's do some math
"It happens." He turned again to the garden. "To the brain, I mean. It's the drink, naturally. And the hepatic function. But there is clearly something else occurring, too. Certainly in other men I've seen it. There is something in certain abilities that is never far from--far from--" He looked out at the lake. "I cannot really know."
"No, please go on."
"Far from terror, perhaps. It is not such a rare phenonomenon, you see. I used to encounter it around the maths division when I was at university, and I have seen it here, even, in my little country practice. It seems to be quite primal. At its crudest, it is a bona fide paranoia. Plenty in the field are gone before the age of twenty. I've seen that, too. Perhaps it is a harbinger. I believe it to be physiological." He looked down. "I sometimes imagine it as God's revenge."
"One must bear in mind that they might be considered spies." He was smiling now.
"By the Deity, you mean?"
"Indeed. Your dad's cantankerous nature, by the way--you know that this is his liver, too, don't you? And of course the drink plays a part in it--but it is also the man himself. The emotions are ablaze in him." He set down the bucket. "For people like you and me--well, we are shielded by all our damping circuitry. We maintain a cushion against the world, if you will. A comfort against the ravage. But I believe it is not so for him."
He regarded me. "Think of what life must be like for a mind like your father's. I mean, human existence is bounded by tragedy, is it not? And shot through with it, as well. I was born in Lahore, so I know this in a particular way. But your father, too--he knows it just as particularly, in his own way. I have learned to keep such thoughts somewhat at bay. And so have you. But for him, there is no ignoring it. There is no joy in God's creation. No pleasure in sunlight or water. No pleasure in a good meal. There is no pleasure in the company of friends. There is nothing. Nothing that might assuage the maw. He stands directly in its whirlwind. I've come to believe that this is the consequence of a brain like his."