Book Appreciation: The Solitude of Prime Numbers

“A prime number is a lonely thing. It can only be divided by itself or by one; it never truly fits with another.”

The Solitude of Prime Numbers centers on two people named Alice and Mattia, who both carry childhood traumas of different natures which affects them both for the rest of their lives, turning them into prime numbers. After a party incident in their teenage years, they become friends, finding comfort in each other’s loneliness. However, unspoken feelings drove them apart and made Mattia take on a teaching job abroad. It was only years later when a fateful incident forces Alice to write Mattia a letter telling him to come home, which then makes Mattia drop everything and take the first plane back.

Never have I seen a book that is both depressing and comforting. Comforting, not in an oh-dear-lord-these-people-are-so-miserable-I-should-just-be-contented kind of way, but in a way that after finishing and putting down the book, after intense feelings of sadness and pain, you’d be surrounded by an overwhelming feeling of Zen. I don’t know if it has the same effect on everyone but that’s what it did to me.

I don’t usually do these kinds of stuff, blogging about awesome books that I’ve read, because I suck at describing things. With my very limited vocabulary and innate hate for reading anything that is too adjective-y, I’ve developed this handicap. Another one of those reasons why I couldn’t possibly consider being an author as a job. However, after googling this book and seeing the very unflattering Wikipedia article, I felt that I should share it somehow. I learned about this book through JM nga pala, all of the copies that I could find here are all hard bound and costs like 1K+ so I just made my brother buy me two copies and have it shipped here. Hi, JM, if you’re reading this here’s your super delayed birthday present! :))

Anyway, if you’re looking for a book that explores the concept of need and loneliness at its extremes, this is definitely a must-read. If you already know about this book, sorry for being such a slowpoke. Lulz.

“In his first year at university, Mattia had learned that, 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.”

Read it and you won’t regret! Now off to reading 1Q84 through the holidays while I still don’t have to commute!

Over at my imaginary fireplace and magnificent chimney,
V

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