Paolo Giordano | Flyleaf Books | Readings & Signings | Indy Week
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Paolo Giordano 

When: Wed., April 13, 7 p.m. 2011

Don't fear the title of Paolo Giordano's debut novel, The Solitude of Prime Numbers: This is no AP math trip. Instead trust the cover art, which shows two peas in a pod. Mattia and Alice are well-matched leads—"isolated primes"—because they're misfits of the same sad type. Both suffer childhood traumas that result in lives of self-abuse: Mattia's by self-mutilation, Alice's by anorexia. They meet as young teens and form "a defective and asymmetrical friendship, made up of long absences and much silence." Although Mattia is a prodigy who sees even the simplest actions (Coke filling a glass, the swing of an earring) in complex mathematical terms, sheathing The Solitude of Prime Numbers in a brainy membrane, this short book is actually a simple, accessible tale, written in straightforward prose (in translation by Shaun Whiteside). The comfortingly familiar subject matter—young love in bloom and then in conflict—explains the novel's broad appeal. It has sold more than a million copies in Italy, where it was also made into a movie with Isabella Rossellini, and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Not bad for a 28-year-old particle physics student from Turin who wrote his book under cover of darkness—a different kind of Shroud of Turin, perhaps, this one granting the miracle of a best-seller. Giordano's reading begins tonight at 7. —Adam Sobsey

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