Winner of the Premio Strega 2008, Italy’s premier literary award.
Paolo Giorgdano is the youngest author to win the Premio Strega – he was just 26 when he was awarded the prize. There has been a lot of publicity around this and so I was keen to see how he managed such a remarkable achievement.
The title and the five literary awards this book has won led me to think I’d find a complex literary novel with a mathematical element, so was very surprised to discover that The Solitude of Prime Numbers is actually a light, coming-of-age story with elements more associated with a thriller.
The book centres on two children – one wracked with guilt after abandoning his sister, the other suffering from anorexia. They form a bond with one another, but this relationship is strained as they progress through their teenage years.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers was a real page-turner and I read it in a single sitting. The plot was fast paced and well structured, but I was surprised that this book was so highly acclaimed – it was an enjoyable read, but it lacked the depth I expected from a multiple award winner. The writing was simple, but precise and there were many sections where his talent shone through, but at the end of the book I was left with a “is this it?” feeling.
A small section compared the two children to prime numbers, but this felt out of place compared to the rest of the book. I’m not sure why a simple piece of mathematics has amazed so many people – perhaps it is that scientist in me coming through again, but I thought it was just a bit cheesy.
I thought it was appropriate to review this book after my post on author age yesterday as this is another example of a book where a younger author has failed to impress me.
Overall, I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable light thriller, but it is nothing special.
This is by no means a perfect novel, but it’s an extraordinarily human one. Reading Matters
….a phenomenal read. Rob Around Books
…a beautiful story which shows just how a traumatic childhood can scar us for life. Bibliophile by the Sea
Have you read The Solitude of Prime Numbers ?
Were you surprised by the contents of the book?