Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Solitude of Prime Numbers - Paolo Giordano (audio)



Listening to The Solitude of Prime Numbers on audio was an impromptu move for me. Yes, I'd read a positive review or two, but it didn't register on the Sandy-meter. But my BFF had it in her hot little hands, and offered it to me with lots of time left before it had to be returned to the library. It was only six discs, so I went for it, knowing absolutely nothing about the plot, but expecting loneliness based on the title.

And loneliness I got in spades. We meet Alice and Mattia as children, both scarred permanently and devastatingly by traumas occurring in their youth. They meet and while they are never "close" as we would define it, they have a strange connection. Both are outcasts, both are odd, both cannot seem to forge relationships, except with each other. There is a mere whisper of romance, but because of emotional baggage, they run in opposite directions. Mattia is a mathematical genius, and receives a lucrative position at a university abroad. Alice marries a well-meaning but clueless doctor and earns a living as a photographer. They reunite briefly again, awarded another chance at love, at independence, at happiness. But will they grasp the opportunity this time?

Let me just start with the positive. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. The author is quite handsome.









But overall, this book was a struggle for me from the get-go. Don't get me wrong. I had empathy for Alice and Mattia - these were damaged and neurotic kids. It was wonderful that they found a small amount of solace in each other, although even their friendship seemed stilted and shallow. But they were not likable. They were difficult, closed off emotionally, and flat. The plot moved forward, but in an aimless, wandering path. There was no resolution to the story...not that I always need one, but I really needed something, anything to grab onto, to propel me (or drag me) to the end of the story. When it ended, I screamed and threw my hands in the air. Is that IT? I felt short-changed.

I suppose it may have been to this story's detriment that I was listening to an absolutely delightful audio at the same time. I was also in a mood of intolerance. I was not suffering fools, whiners or wandering plots gladly. I was underwhelmed, as well, by the narrator. He wasn't horrible, but was on the monotone end of the spectrum, and this did not help matters.

2 out of 5 stars


19 comments:

Melody said...

I got this book in my pile! Now after reading your review I'm not in a rush to read it.

diaryofaneccentric said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this one was disappointing. I had such high hopes for a book with such an intriguing title. I don't have a problem with ambiguous, open endings most of the time, but they have to have that something that makes them work.

Julie P. said...

I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. I have been in a similar situation for the past few weeks because I've read some outstanding books and I think it skewed my expectations.

Molly said...

Hmmm....not sure the good looks of the author warrants this a "must read" for me :)

I agree with others --- I loved the title, I think because it reminded me of the love for prime numbers in the Housekeeper and the Professor. So sorry this one did not measure up.

caite said...

I do so understand the not suffering fools and whiners or wandering plots. Well, at least it had a plot!

Beth F said...

I'm so sorry about this because Solitude may well be my top read in 2010!! AND I listened to it. Sob.

Zibilee said...

Sorry to hear that this one didn't impress you. I have read varying things about this book, but it doesn't really sound like it would interest me that much. Hopefully your next book on audio will be much better!!

farmlanebooks said...

It sounds as though I liked this a little more than you - but not much! I can't see this working as well on audio as in print, so perhaps that is where the slight difference lies?

I thought this was a nice, light read, but nothing more. I've never thought that the good looks of an author is a plus point before, but he is quite charming :-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Love love love seeing that 2/5, meaning that you read it so I don't have to! :--)

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Can't argue with you about the author.... ;)

bermudaonion said...

I wonder if it would have been better in print. I just love the cover.

The Bumbles said...

Well, you know my opinions of men of Spanish & Italian roots - I just absolutely love that you had to stretch that far to use it as a positive in the experience. Next time I would recommend you picture Paolo telling you the story himself while acting as your pool boy.

Iliana said...

I hate it when an ending leaves you feeling like that. I don't need things all wrapped up in a bow but a bit of closure or something helps!

I wonder too if this is the sort of book that really needs to be read? Do you think that could have helped? I wonder if some books are just better for audio than others.

heidenkind said...

Well, a handsome author does count for something. ;)

christa @ mental foodie said...

I borrowed it from the library but will be returning it tomorrow without reading it. It sounds interesting when I read another review, but as I read more reviews, I think I won't like it much as I don't like character-study books without much plot, and especially without a good ending!

It reminds me of Postcards from Dead Girl (my review: http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/04/book-review-postcards-from-dead-girl.html) where the wasn't much of an ending.. that I had to re-read the last chapter to see if I missed something, but still couldn't find what I was looking for!

Nymeth said...

I'm sorry to hear this one didn't work for you, Sandy. I've been on the fence about whether or not to read it, but Beth F said she thought it might be something I'd like. Hm...Well, only one way to find out on which camp I'll fall.

Kathleen said...

Bummer that you didn't enjoy it more. I'm really into book covers lately and really love this one. The two peas in a pod thing is really cool

Jenners said...

I don't think this book is for me. I so love that you mentioned the hotness of the author!!!

Serena said...

this doesn't sound like a book for me. thanks for the review