October 19, 2011

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

I feel a sense of unease whenever a young author wins a prestigious award. How often are we going to hear the name of this author after this event? I get the feeling that such people are set up to astound the world once and then dissolve into the air.

After reading The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, I realized that there are exceptions to these rules. I will anticipate his next book with impatience.

This story is dedicated to two people. Strange people, who are lonely not only in a crowd of people, but also in their own minds. As Mark Twain said, “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”

The two main characters are a girl suffering from anorexia and a guy who happens to be a math genius. This is the story of their lives and their meetings.

“Do you like your new school" Alice asked, for the sake of saying something.


"They say you're a genius"

Mattia sucked in his cheeks and bit into them till he felt the metallic taste of blood filling his mouth.

"Do you really like studying?'

Mattia nodded.


"It's the only thing I know how to do, "he said shortly. He wanted to tell her that he liked studying because you can do it alone, because all the things you study are already dead, cold, and chewed over. He wanted to  tell her that the pages of the school books were all the same temperature, that they left you time to choose, that they never hurt you and you couldn't hurt them either. But he said nothing. 

With this book, you get the sense that you are reading it from within. For me, this is usually the case with books like Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina. It’s not that you sympathize with the people on the pages; you are just become both of them for a short period of time.

A few of my photos.


  1. Olá, belas fotografias...Espectacular....

  2. I agree with you that these are the best kind of books. And some beautiful photographs. I think my favourite is the row of bottles with the mysterious lady in their depths, repeated again and again.....

  3. Thanks for the "recommend" on Giordano's work.
    And I love your new batch of photos . . . particularly "183" and the gallery shots. I did a gallery show last year, where each photo was framed precisely the same size and they were hung in a horizontal row, down two long walls (similar to the one you show).
    The overall effect was nice, but I didn't sell one piece.
    Live and learn.
    It's finally getting colder here now.

  4. Sounds like a very interesting book. I wish more books were like your Blog...great writing followed by beautiful photos. I suppose it's good for the imagination.

  5. Great pics, the last one was super cool! :-) I liked what you shared of the book, will have to look it up!

  6. Hello Olga:
    We have not heard of 'The Solitude of Prime Numbers' but what a wonderfully tantalising introduction you tempt us with here. As you say, it matters not if one does not identify directly with the characters, what matters is that they are credible. Once one believes,then one is hooked!

    Your photographic arithmetic is fascinating viewing. Such interesting compositions which, just as the characters in the book, draws the viewer in deeper and deeper. Perfect!

  7. The gallery image is wonderful.

  8. Interesting set today! It's a gallery?

  9. question for you.
    what inspires your thoughts and then how do you form the ideas into pictures? Do you take pictures that interest you and then gather them together for a post? Am I too nosy? lol

  10. c'est magnifique, Olga! Ces photos pourraient dire beaucoup de choses.

  11. Very interesting and beautiful pictures.

  12. The interesting thing about a book, when his story grabs you ... and then start living with their characters.
    Sometimes we need to be alone ... to be comfortable.
    I like the photos!

  13. Thanks so much for the book recommendation! It sounds fascinating. And your photos are just beautiful.

  14. Dear Olga,
    Thank you for suggesting the book. I will pick it up as it sounds like it is right up my alley.
    You take glorious photos!
    And thanks for reading my interview with Matthew Teitelbaum. I had so many more questions but only had a half hour with him.

  15. Did you Know that 183 is not a prime number, you can still make 61 trios with it. It is the pour 61 who is a lonely number, all by himself.

  16. Thank you Olga for sharing!your photos are excellent!!! kisses from Greece!

  17. Hi Fernando,
    Thank you for your visit and your kind words about my photos :)

    Hi Jenny,
    These bottles also intrigued me. I'm thinking of buying one to find out what's inside :)

    Hi Rick,
    I'm glad you liked my photos. Exhibitions can be really stressful. I find that people who need to sell paintings or photos do not always do it professionally. This has nothing to do with the quality of the work; it only depends on whether the salesperson is good or not.

    Hi Sandy,
    I always challenge my imagination :) This book is very unusual.

    Hi tinajo,
    I'm thinking - should I buy the object from the last photo, or not? :)

  18. Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    No wonder you have heard of this book. Many people praise it, but they also praised The Book Thief, which has disappointed me.
    Thank you for your compliments about my photos. You are always very kind to me :)

    Hi Adrian,
    Personally, I love to take photos in galleries. There are always some objects not only to admire but to take interesting photos of.

    Hi Fabio,
    In reality, there are several galleries and several different shops in this post :) Thank you.

    Hi R. Jacob,
    I have a different approach to each post. Since I am a very rational person in real life, in art and in blogging, I try to get the feel for what will fit and what won't.

    Hi Richard,
    Thank you so much. You are very kind not only with your words, but also with tolerating my horrible French :)

  19. Hi Gillian,
    Thank you for your comment. It's very much appreciated.

    Hi Laura.M,
    The story even has some mystery elements. It really holds your attention from the beginning to the end.

    Hi Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    I myself was surprised that such a young author managed to pull off such a tricky plot.

    Hi Ingrid,
    Thank you for your kind words about my photos. I would attribute it to the interesting subjects, and not so much to my photography skills :)

    Hi Pet,
    Thank you. I was waiting for someone to notice that the number is not prime, but the whole truth is, I just didn't have a different one :)

    Hi Φανή Παπαγεωργίου, Ζωγράφος,
    Thank you. You are always so kind. Your words really encourage me.

  20. Hello,Olga.
    Great photos! The first and the eigth ones tug my heart.

  21. Hiya Olga a perfect post here thank you. I liked particularly what you said about Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina...also two of my favourite books ever.

    Your photography is, as always, so inspiring with the details you illustrate with your camera. X

  22. again, a very good choice of illustrations to the text!

  23. Hi Olga! Great photos! Gabor from Hungary

  24. A very-interesting sounding book. I must look out for it.

    Your photos are original and colourful as usual.

  25. Olga,
    The book sounds very interesting. I think solitude is distance of hearts, not physical distance. In Japan, there is a very strange phenomenon. Many people fall in love with the characters in Manga, Anime or video games. The reason is that they never want to be hurt by someone or to hurt someone. Their hearts are so fragile.

    I'm wondering where one-hit wonders go??
    I'm interested in the name of bottles,Tokyo Milk. Maybe they are made in Japan??

    Thanks a lot for sharing great photos and story.

    Best wishes,

  26. A great collection of interesting images....


  27. Hi Tomoko,
    Thank you for picking out your favourites among my photos. The first photo was taken on the street. On the front yard, there was also an old woman who started wondering what I was doing :)

    Hi Dolly,
    I know that you are very busy right now, but I'd say, definitely put this book on your list of reading for the future. I have a feeling you will enjoy it.

    Hi Ola,
    Thank you very much. I thought that, in the photos I chose, there is a certain sense of mystery :)

    Hi Jaros Gabor,
    Thank you for your visit and for your lovely words. You are welcome in my blog :)

    Hi Sarah,
    In this book, there are many psychological moments, but there is also mystery, which makes it irresistible.

    Hi Keiko,
    Socializing with real people is always a challenge. A situation can be unpredictable, and it would be so comforting to be able to know that your relationship will carry on well :)

    Hi Trevor,
    Thank you for your visit. You are very kind.

  28. Amazing photographs. I will have to check out that book. Not that I have much time to read right now.

  29. Where do you find the time? As always, I've enjoyed another visit to your online gallery. :)

  30. Oh wow! that little excerpt from the book got me really interested to read it.

    Love your gallery photos.

  31. Given you a shout-out over at http://rooikatfrance.blogspot.com LOVE your photos!

  32. Thanks for the book tip. I've been stuck lately for a good book to read, I'll check this one out. Have a great week-end.

  33. Sounds like an interesting book going into peoples minds and knowing what they are thinking.

  34. Hi Randy,
    There really isn't enough time for anything. I rarely find any fiction these days that comes across as truly interesting to me.

    Hi Lydia,
    Finding any time is a major issue right now. I read everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places :)

    Hi Ann,
    It's one of those books that makes you think of how other people interpret the world.

    Hi Jenette,
    Thank you very much for being my follow. I really appreciate you mentioning me in your blog. And I'm glad you liked the photos!

    Hi Andressa C.,
    Thank you for your compliment :)

    Hi lilylovekin,
    The book is a little unusual. It contains some psychological observations, but there is also mystery, and it's easy to get absorbed in it.

    Hi A Lady's Life,
    I wouldn't say no to looking into other people's minds. But please, not into everyone's :)