Calculations and Compromises

One Hundred Twenty-One Days, by Michele Audin, translated by Christiana Hills, (Deep Vellum Publishing), 200 pages, release date 12 April, 2016

One Hundred Twenty-One Days is a novel that is so original it almost defies description. The characters are an assortment of mathematicians. The time period spans World Wars I and II. The style—well, the style varies depending upon which chapter you’re reading. As the reader works her way through the book’s many voices, the reader experiences a depiction of the processes by which we make choices and compromises during difficult times. Some of our mathematicians collaborate with occupying forces, some don’t. Some speak out when they see incipient fascism, some don’t. All of these actions are presented obliquely, requiring close attention. Given its intellectual and stylistic richness, I don’t doubt that this title will be one of my favorites of the year—and one I’ll be rereading sooner, rather than later.

April 14 2016 06:04 am | Uncategorized

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