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Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

BOOK review
Started on: 30.December.2012
Finished on: 5.January.2013

Title : The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Author : Paolo Giordano
Publisher : Penguin Books
Pages : 271 Pages
Year of Publication : 2009
Price : $ 14.25 (

Rating: 4.5/5
My first read in 2013! :)) What a great start.
"Because she and Mattia were united by an invisible, elastic thread, buried under a pile of meaningless things, a thread that could exist only between two people like themselves: two people who had acknowledged their own solitude within the other."
It was 1983, the day when Alice dela Rocca had to face a terrible, traumatic experience in her early life. She hated ski school, but her Father forced her to keep doing it; and that day when Alice tried to get away from skiing, she got into an accident - which probably will change her life forever. Mattia Ballossino on the other hand, experienced a different kind of traumatic experience in his early life. Since he was young, he had to put up with his twin sister, Michela - who's practically different, and unable to relate with things around her. And one night, Mattia decided to leave Michela alone in a park so he could go to a party without having to be embarrassed by his sister. He never expected that Michela would be gone that day, lost without a single track - and he's responsible for that.
Alice and Mattia then both grew up being different - becoming prime numbers: numbers that are only divisible by number 1 and by itself. As teenagers they find difficulty to blend in with other people; Alice was seen as a strange and bullied by the other girls. While Mattia never really opened up himself, even having the habit of hurting himself; he only made one friend at school named Denis. But one day Alice laid her eyes on Mattia, and in that moment their lives intersected with each other. They easily interacted with each other and shared each others' lives, because they know they're not that much different. And so Mattia called themselves prime numbers, 2760889966649 was his number, and he thought that 2760889966651 was Alice's number - both separated by one number. And that was basically how their lives are, always very close to each other but never really together.
"Prime numbers are divisible only by 1 and by themselves. They hold their place in the infinite series of natural numbers, squashed, like all numbers, between two others, but one step further than the rest. They are suspicious, solitary numbers... Other times he suspected that they too would have preferred to be like all the others, just ordinary numbers, but for some reason they couldn't do it."
Both Alice and Mattia had developed feelings for each other over time - but they never get to really express it to the other. Mattia who had an extraordinary ability in Mathematics has managed to graduate earlier; and because of his talent he got an offer to teach at a university - in another country. He had to answer that offer, but the idea of leaving Alice behind seems to weigh his mind. Will Alice and Mattia ever be together?
"He wanted to tell her that he liked studying because you can do it alone, because all the things you study are already dead, cold, and chewed over. He wanted to tell her that the pages of the schoolbooks were all the same temperature, that they left you time to choose, that they never hurt you and you couldn't hurt them either. But he said nothing."

I was persuaded into reading this book by a fellow BBI member named Ndari, and it was definitely not disappointing. The start of the book is very intriguing - introducing the readers to the early lives of Alice and Mattia, who both has a dark past. And their childhood story made me understand their situation and mental state when they are growing into adult - because that traumatic phase would definitely change a person, one way or another. Because the story is jumping from year after year, we get to see Alice and Mattia grow up into adults - as if we're growing up along with them. From the moment I started reading this book, I literally cannot stop reading and kept asking the question: "what then will happen to these two prime numbers?". And so that question made me kept going until the end of the book - which then left me with my own thoughts.

The story is indeed very beautifully written (even though it's a translation from the original Italian language) and heartbreaking as well; although the story basically only tells the lives of both Alice and Mattia, I enjoyed this book thoroughly - and I am dying to know the end results of Alice-Mattia while I was reading. The best thing about this book that amazed me is how the emotion of the story is delivered through the fascinating words that Paolo Giordano used in this book. Word by word is arranged in the most perfect way, making it so easy for me to take in everything the story is telling. Even though the plot itself doesn't really give a lot of conflicts throughout the story, the fact that I enjoyed reading it to the fullest has made me give 4.5 stars to this book.

Although I enjoyed it very well, I have so many questions in my mind about the details of the story. Because the story jumped from a year to another, there are something that got skipped and doesn't get further explanation; like for example, how did Alice and Fabio ended up being married. The almost-to-the-end part about Michela also made me question a lot of things, which I'm still curious at this moment but can do nothing about it because the story ended already. I actually hoped a lot of things would be explained more thoroughly in this book, so it doesn't haunts me with curiosity.

Despite that, I absolutely love this book. I have to give my thumbs up as well to the amazing title that really defines the story inside; and also the stunning book cover - honestly it was the cover that attracted me in the first place. And I am so looking forward to reading Paolo Giordano's other works - if it will have the chance to be translated into English. Another surprise for me, is that The Solitude of Prime Numbers have been adapted into a movie in Italy. I accidentally stumbled on the movie trailer while I was searching about the book - which I posted below. I really hope to be able to find the movie (with English subtitle of course) and enjoy the story in real-life form.
apparently it's in Italian, so i don't understand a thing ( ̄∀ ̄) 
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. wah ini order dr bookdepository ya? nyampenya brp lama? pengen nyoba jg karena freeshipping, tp masih mikir2 hehee

    1. yup di bookdepo :D skitar 3-4 minggu-an :)) worth to try.

  2. ohh nggak terlalu lama ya hehee okedeh thanks a lot ka stef :D


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