Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book: An Elegant Solution

This has to be the most challenging novel I have ever read, and I've read a lot of novels. Paul Robertson’s An Elegant Solution is no simple solution or light diversion. This is a novel to read if you like having your mind work hard while reading. Of course, if you’re a math genius, it’s a little easier.

The picture to the right also links to an excerpt to get a flavor of the text.

I am actually not really sure where to begin with reviewing this one. I’m not up to critiquing the mathematics, but it is worth noting that a little bit of mathphobia should not hamper your enjoyment of this book. Robertson has structured An Elegant Solution so that you can understand why the math matters, even if you are not real clear on logarithm. (Or logarithm and blues!)
Overall, I found the language a bit of a challenge in reading, but this stretched my brain rather than harming my enjoyment of the text. Robertson has taken the readers of An Elegant Solution deep into history, and uses linguistic style to transport us there. It is a valuable journey.
The plot was intricate enough to be compelling. Although it may be that it would read as simple in modern language, put into the time period parlance, An Elegant Solution challenges the reader overall.
I am not sure how much more to say about this—the synopsis follows this review, and it sells the text short, I think. If you would like your next novel read to push your thinking, grab this one.

"For young Leonhard Euler, the Bernoulli family have been more than just friends. Master Johann has been a demanding mentor, and his sons have been Leonhard's allies and companions. But it is also a family torn by jealousy and distrust. Father and sons are engaged in a ruthless competition for prestige among the mathematical elites of Europe, especially the greatest prize: the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Basel, which Johann holds and his sons want. And now, their aspirations may have turned deadly.

Lured into an investigation of the suspicious death of Uncle Jacob twenty years ago, Leonhard soon realizes there's more at stake than even a prominent appointment. Surrounded by the most brilliant--and cunning--minds of his generation, Leonhard is forced to see how dangerous his world is. His studies in mathematics have always been entwined with his thoughts on theology, and now, caught in a deadly battle of wills, he'll need both his genius and his faith to survive."

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