Showing posts from March, 2013

Wide Sargasso Sea

By Jean RhysAntoinette Cosway is a Creole, meaning a person of French descent, in the West Indies. She comes from a stock of slave-owning European settlers, who are left quite high and dry, when slavery is abolished. Her father dies, leaving her, a mentally incapacitated younger brother and her mother Annette, the Coulibri Estate, near Spanish Town in Jamaica. It is an impoverished existence they live; fearful of the resentful freed slaves, never completely belonging to the land that has become suddenly hostile, yet not knowing of any other place to go. But her mother is young and pretty and manages to marry a rich Englishman Mason, who is willing to lavish her and her children with his wealth and love. But when the Coulibri Estate is burned down by former slaves, and her brother dies, her mother goes insane. The effect of all this on Antoinette is quite devastating. The only thing constant for her is her sense of the place; it is a sense that even the hostility of the locals does not…

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

By Paolo Giordano (Translated from Italian by Shaun Whiteside) A prime number is of course indivisible by anything other than one and itself. Giordano describes them as numbers standing aloof and apart from the rest, their tracks running parallel to but never meeting the other prime numbers.And in his debut novel, he creates two characters, Alice and Mattia, investing in them the same characteristics of prime numbers – the apartness, the solitude, the parallel tracks. Alice and Mattia are severely damaged people. Alice, who never gets over a skiing accident as a child that leaves her scarred and limping, grows up anorexic and unable to fit into a normal world. Mattia, who leaves his retarded identical twin sister in a park, out of a childhood fear of embarrassment, loses her forever. He is a mathematical genius, but this childhood trauma never leaves him, and he grows up hurting himself with knives and burns, unable to fit into any semblance of a normal life. Alice and Mattia find each o…