When the greatest female mathematician in history passes away, her son, Alexander "Sasha" Karnokovitch, just wants to mourn his mother in peace. But rumor has it the notoriously eccentric Polish émigré has solved one of the most difficult problems in all of mathematics and has spitefully taken the solution to her grave. As a ragtag group of mathematicians from around the world descends upon Rachela's shiva, determined to find the proof or solve it for themselves - even if it means prying up the floorboards for notes or desperately scrutinizing the mutterings of her African Grey parrot - Sasha must come to terms with his mother's outsized influence on his life.
Spanning decades and continents, from a crowded living room in Madison, Wisconsin, to the windswept beach on the Barents Sea where a young Rachela had her first mathematical breakthrough, The Mathematician's Shiva is an unexpectedly moving and uproariously funny novel that captures humanity's drive not just to survive but to achieve the impossible.
©2014 Stuart Rojstaczer (P)2015 Tantor
"An enjoyable debut, the book is distinguished by a fluid, lyrical style that is equally at home with serious and comic matters." (Kirkus)
Having been a "Mathlete" in high school, and growing up with Yiddish-speaking grandparents and parents, the book had special appeal to me. The accents were "close", however, the pronunciation of several of the Yiddish words was inaccurate, and, as a result, somewhat distracting. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the readers very much.
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