Once in a while, for writers anyway, a book comes along that you wished you had written yourself. Paolo Giordano’s “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” is one of those books. This is Giordano’s first novel and at merely 27 years of age, he certainly has a stellar career ahead of him. The guy is supremely talented.
He’s yet another truly gifted writer coming out of Italy these days. He, along with his contemporary Niccolò Ammaniti, was the youngest novelist to ever receive Italy’s prestigious Premio Strega award. It’s not hard to see why after reading this amazing novel. Both these authors cover similar ground.
“The Solitude of Prime Numbers” follows the lives of Alice and Mattia, two misfits who seem destined to remain alone. Haunted by childhood memories, they each find it hard to relate to anyone else. They meet one another as teenagers and find kindred, damaged spirits in one another. As they grow into adulthood, each of their lives take a separate course. Mattia winds up somewhere in the north, presumably Sweden or Norway, and Alice remains in her home town, eventually marrying a man who she apparently didn’t really love. Somehow, even by distance, both Alice and Mattia’s lives seemed to be intertwined. It is a wonderful meditation on loneliness, love and the weight of childhood experience and Giordano’s prose is virtually flawless. You careabout Alice and Mattia and where their lives are taking them. It one of those novels that will stick with you a very long time. Simply brilliant. It makes me very eager to see what else Giordano will offer in the future. Hopefully, it won’t be a long wait.