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A prime number is a lonely thing. It can be divided only by itself or by one; it never truly fits with another. Alice and Mattia are both “primes” — misfits who seem destined to be alone. They are haunted by the childhood tragedies that mark their lives and find themselves unable to reach out to anyone else. When the two meet as teenagers, they recognize in each other a kindred, damaged spirit. As they grow into adulthood, their destinies seem irrevocably intertwined. But when the mathematically gifted Mattia accepts a research position that takes him thousands of miles away, the two are forced to separate with many things left unsaid. A chance encounter will reunite them and force a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface, but the question remains: Can two prime numbers ever find a way to be together? The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a stunning meditation on loneliness, love, and the weight of childhood experience. A sensation in its native Italy, where it has sold more than a million copies, it is a remarkable debut, a moving novel that lays bare the soul and captures what it means to be human.
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Paolo Giordano is the youngest winner of Italy’s prestigious literary award the Premio Strega, for The Solitude of Prime Numbers, his debut novel. Just twenty-seven years old, he is a professional physicist and is currently working on a doctorate in particle physics. He lives in Italy.From AudioFile:
Luke Daniels's calm, measured narration provides balance for the intense story of two protagonists who were traumatized in their youth. Mattia, who is consumed by guilt for causing the disappearance of his developmentally disabled twin sister, cuts himself off from the world. Daniels's flat tones evoke his icy remoteness. In contrast, Daniels portrays anorexic Alice, who was crippled in an early skiing accident, with a more heated tone. Bursts of emotion convey her loneliness and self-loathing. As the two teenagers form an awkward bond, Mattia sees the two of them as "twin prime numbers," similar but separated. Daniels's dispassionate reading serves as emotional ballast for this strong story and accurately represents the heroes' fruitless attempts to connect. S.W. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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