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Your uncle, my son, committed the greatest of sins ... he took something holy and sacred and great, and shamelessly defiled it! The great, unique gift that God had blessed him with, his phenomenal, unprecedented mathematical talent! The miserable fool wasted it; he squandered it and threw it out with the garbage. Can you imagine it? The ungrateful bastard never did one day's useful work in mathematics. Never! Nothing! Zero!Instead of being warned off, the nephew instead has his curiosity provoked, and what he eventually discovers is a story of obsession and frustration, of Uncle Petros's attempts at finding a proof for one of the great unsolved problems of mathematics--Goldbach's conjecture.
If this might initially seem undramatic material for a novel, readers of Fermat's Last Theorem, Simon Singh's gripping true-life account of Andrew Wiles's search for a proof for another of the great long-standing problems of mathematics, would surely disagree. What Doxiadis gives us is the fictional corollary of Singh's book: a beautifully imagined narrative that is both compelling as a story and highly revealing of a rarefied world of the intellect that few people will ever access. Without ever alienating the reader, he demonstrates the enchantments of mathematics as well as the ambition, envy and search for glory that permeate even this most abstract of pursuits. Balancing the narrator's own awkward move into adulthood with the painful memories of his brilliant uncle, Doxiadis shows how seductive the world of numbers can be, and how cruel a mistress. "Mathematicians are born, not made," Petros declares: an inheritance that proves to be both a curse and a gift.--Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fantastic novel! A real gem of a book! Great introduction to the amazing world of mathematicians and the beauty of mathematicsPublished 12 months ago by Rania Sabbagh
This is an extraordinary book - a tale of obsession and persistance told with a real feel for storytelling. I know nothing about mathematics but it doesn't matter. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jimmy P
This is a little gem of a book. Don't be alarmed by the subject - mathematics - you don't have to know about or understand the maths to enjoy the story. Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2013 by M. E. Birch
This book was one of the selections of our Round the World Book Group. This is the story of one man's attempt to solve a centuries old mathematical mystery. Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2010 by Mr. A. Mcinnes
This book is splattered with praise, both within its first four pages and here on
Amazon. It's a competent and well-crafted novella and an enjoyable enough read but
if... Read more
This engaging story deserves the maximum rating which other reviewers have given it, even though the ending is perhaps a bit predictable. Read morePublished on 28 May 2010 by Yellow Duck
An individual capable of both advanced mathematics and writing a novel is a rare bird, and I can't think of any precedent of the novel being used as a means of telling people about... Read morePublished on 27 Oct. 2009 by Keith D. Brown
Great book, with an interesting premiss. I had to buy this book twice as I gave my previous copy away, but so wanted to read it again. Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2009 by Marc Robertson
An excellent novel, a life story built around a mathematical conjecture. It does not require any mathematical skills to read, however anyone with engineering or science background... Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2009 by EMILIOS MAKRIDES