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