Wednesday, September 12

Leaning Toward Infinity - Sue Wolf

The Australian-born daughter of the Australian-born daughter of an Italian migrant tells her amateur mathematician mother's story of her own mother's mathematical discoveries as though the story were her own. This is interspersed with the daughter's letters, predominantly reflecting on how motherhood has affected her, caused her to reflect on her own relationship with her mother. Other themes include betrayal, beauty, competition, loss, the nature of identity, mother-daughter relationships, the rigidity of academic sciences, love and the thwarting of love.
This "extremely original and inventive" novel is complex, interwoven and multi-layered. Did I mention complex? I really didn't feel smart enough as I was reading this, and I persisted despite not being captivated by the narrative, I think to prove to myself that I was indeed clever enough to read it! In retrospect, it was not a reassuring book to read during a twenty-four hour flight en route and just just prior to an academic conference, and I may not have given it the best possible reading. - Alex

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