In which I divine whether I will love or hate The Solitude of Prime Numbers

(This post is part of the 2010 BIP Bingo Assignment:  the collation post)

So I run out and got The Solitude of Prime Numbers after adding it to my wishlist.  I remarked to two friends (they have both read the book) that I would be reading the book soon.   The two have them have strong , I mean strong, but differing opinions about the book.  One absolutely loved it while the other hated it.  So I wondered, if based on the reviews on blogs and newspapers, I could divine, before reading the book, whether I would love it or hate it.

Reviews in favor

Thomas Kuehn on BookPage: Giordano deftly creates a sense of loneliness and loss through the use of simple, beautiful language and powerful imagery. The brevity of this novel does not diminish its power, while the maturity of the prose and the courage of the storytelling belie the fact that this is Giordano’s first novel.

Bibiophile by the Sea: MY THOUGHTS — I loved this book… The story is told in short, alternating chapters, and it drew me in from the very first page. The characters are damaged and sympathetic. It is a beautiful story which shows just how a traumatic childhood can scar us for life. It’s a story of missed opportunities, and one that I will not easily forget. The ending surprised me, and I look forward to more books by this talented author. READ THIS BOOK! – ( 5/5 stars )

The Guardian: Part of the success of the book comes from its minimalism. Scenes, dialogue and descriptions are – in sharp contrast to the florid nature of much Italian fiction – brief, almost terse. It would have been easy to fall into melodrama and produce a happy resolution, but Giordano remains as icy as his characters, offering only misunderstandings and missed opportunities until the bitter end.

The New York Times: The story — the explanation, really — of how two people come to find solitude more comforting than companionship is the subtle work of Giordano’s haunting novel, a finely tuned machine powered by the perverse mechanics of need.

robonbooks: ..The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a phenomenal read and it’s one which is highly recommended. It’s not often that a novel can come along and leave an indelible mark on a reader’s soul, but this novel seems to do just that. From a seasoned and aged novelist this would be a sensational achievement, but to come from a debut novelist still in the prime of his youth, is nothing short of extraordinary.

Ambivalent or reviews not in favor:

Farm Lane Books: The Solitude of Prime Numbers was a real page-turner and I read it in a single sitting. The plot was fast paced and well structured, but I was surprised that this book was so highly acclaimed – it was an enjoyable read, but it lacked the depth I expected from a multiple award winner. The writing was simple, but precise and there were many sections where his talent shone through, but at the end of the book I was left with a “is this it?” feeling… Overall, I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable light thriller, but it is nothing special.

Iris on Books: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano is one of those books that left me with nothing to say. Not only, I might add, in a positive sense. I’m simply unsure what to say except that this book left me with mixed feelings. Maybe I’ve read so many good things about this book, combined with it winning the Premio Strega award, making Giordano the youngest winner ever of this Italian literary award, that this could only disappoint.

The Independent: Not a bad result for a first attempt at fiction by a promising hope for the future of Italian literature.

The Complete Review: There’s considerable talent at work here, and The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a reasonably compelling read, but it’s ultimately not truly satisfying.

The Washington Post: There’s no arguing with this depressive emotional position, besides growing up. We all have to die, and that means in the end that the depressives are right. I’m just wondering about the thousands upon thousands of Europeans who (presumably) subscribe to this position, and have turned, by their adulation, this whimpering cub into a literary lion.

Well, I don’t know what to make of this.  I like rob of robonbook’s reading.  And afterall, Farm Lane and I both adore Saramago, hardly scientific I know.  Then there is Iris on Books, a favorite blogger of mine.  So I divine that I’m not going to think much of this book 😉  I will post a review when I’m done.  Seriously though, some of the topics that I have to come up with to try and write 14 posts for the 2010 Blog Improvement Project’s Bingo Posts assignment 🙂

So can I really start a book thinking that I will not like it?  Have you written a collation post before?



  1. I agree with Jackie, on both topics. Maybe you’ll end up loving it, I might actually like hearing about that as well. It’d make me have to go back and read it again, that’s for sure, see what I’ve missed.

    I do wish I would have taken the time to do the bingo thing. Maybe next year, if it still exists then?


  2. I agree with Jackie – fantastic post! Great idea to pull all the reviews in. It does seem that people either love it, or are ambivalent. Better than everyone loving or hating! I hope that you love it 🙂 (Though I have nothing to base that on, as I haven’t read the book.)


  3. I think this is a fantastic post! I love the way BIP encourages people to create original posts like this. I predict that you will like The Solitude of Prime Numbers, but not really love it. I am really looking forward to seeing your review now that you’ve analysed so many reviews. Enjoy reading it!


    • Thank you, Jackie. The BIP is really causing me to dig deep and come up with all sorts of posts. It’s been really good but a tad bit stressful. I’m almost at the finish line. Yes, I’m looking forward to reading The Solitude of Prime Numbers.


      • It’s just that I find producing on demand a bit difficult 😉 But the whole exercise has been a huge learning curve for me and I’m really glad I signed up. I just didn’t know that I can write all these many types of blog posts. I will continue to do so once BIP is over! BTW, thanks for hosting it.


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