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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Rich with both laughter and pain, Taylor's novel is a different sort of love story, elegantly written and deeply satisfying.
The history of mathematics holds many distinguished names, but three stand out: Archimedes, Newton, and Gauss. The son of a rabbi, a self-described cosmologist and budding astronomer, Gabriel Geismar intends to make that trio a quartet. As he travels the path from youth to manhood during the turbulent '70s, Gabriel's journey is one of drama, discovery, and bittersweet humor. From his home in New Orleans to college in Philadelphia, his passion has always resided in the sweet detachment and unchangeable rules of mathematics. Integers, fractions, and primes were his family and his connection, not his angry father or his loving but timid mother -- each, all too sadly, the other's misfortune.
But at college, Gabriel finds a new and more potent connection -- a true home, his rightful place -- within the eccentric Hundert clan. The twins, Danny and Marghie, become his friends; their parents, brilliant intellectuals, are the family he should have had. This is his proper inheritance; theirs is a marriage the way it's supposed to be; and here is the thoughtful and intelligent exchange of views he has longed for. However, as the years pass, Gabriel's deepening attachment and greater intimacy with his elective family reveal that it is he, the outsider, who must bear the tragedy and sadness at their very core. (Fall 2008 Selection)