Discussion: Part 2 of The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

Stacy, Alex and I are in for some revelations and ongoing suspense as we read Part 2 (pages 98-181) of The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. Let us know what you thought by posting your comments!

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Paolo Giordano, Chatelaine book club,

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Stacy, Alex and I are in for some revelations and ongoing suspense as we read Part 2 (pages 98-181) of The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. Let us know what you thought by posting your comments!

Laurie: Hey!

Stacy: Hello!

Alex: Holy moly.

Laurie: So, Part 2 of The Solitude of Prime Numbers. Holy moly indeed!

Alex: What on earth is about to happen? I feel like we’re in a sliding doors moment, a fork in the road and a very different, irreversible path may be chosen!

Stacy: For Alice, Mattia, both…?

Alex: For both! They are comfort and chaos for each other.

Laurie: I feel they’re orbiting planets, and short of a meteor collision, nothing is going to push them off their predetermined path. Mattia seems so set in his ways, I despair for him.

Alex: Exactly. He is just so inside himself. They are so perfect (together??) but they will never break out of their awkwardness if they stay together.

Stacy: No matter how much they want one another, or, alternatively, are completely irritated by one another, they can’t really escape one another. But they can’t really connect, either.

Alex: Exactly. And now Alice has something of a chance at a normal life, but she cannot fully grasp it without thinking back to Mattia for help.

Laurie: On page 111, Mattia talks about preferring to be like normal numbers, but it only happens at night, just before falling asleep, “When the mind is too weak to tell itself lies.” But during the day, he can’t summon up the energy to change; he does keep lying to himself, and to Alice. Idiot.

Stacy: Haha. Nice, Laurie!

Alex: He needs to speak up for sure before it’s too late (is it already too late?!).

Laurie: I don’t know if it’s too late. But Fabio seems too opposite to Mattia to be a good fit for Alice either. She needs a number in between, I think. A fraction, a ½. Lol!

Alex: Yes. Fabio’s super relaxed nature sort of emphasizes her crazy somehow. His big smiles, and her hiding in the toilet.

Stacy: Flushing the tomato! He just seems so normal.

Laurie: That’s it. He’s the polar opposite of Mattia, and I don’t think it will be a good thing.

Stacy: I think Fabio is so interesting because he’s kind of the convenient guy. He finds himself in the middle of these two very damaged people and the poor sucker has no idea.

Laurie: No idea — at all!

Stacy: He thinks he can play by “the rules” and cook for her and be charming, and it will all be OK.

Alex: I don’t feel sorry for him. I think he’s a picture of the functioning adult. He is worlds away from them.

Laurie: But he’s also too slick for Alice, too nice. He doesn’t get her pain at all, unfortunately. The way it says he lets all opposition just bounce off him.

Alex: And for all his charm, he is somehow lacking in charm compared to the complicated characters they are.

Stacy: Yes — he has none of the complications that make us want to know one another (in life and in books). He’s absolutely too slick for her. Too perfect and simple. You know what he sort of feels like? A nice guy. One of those guys who says all the right things, but there’s an undertone of smarminess. Not that he’s necessarily smarmy, just… his lack of complications feels less genuine.

Laurie: Sad for him, but good for the book’s drama!

Alex: I liked how they tied Dennis back in; the closeness of their relationship reflected in even Mattia being able to pick it up again like that.

Stacy: Me, too!

Laurie: And the way what Dennis says decides Mattia on staying or going — the thing about numbers being everywhere and Alice being in only one place.

Alex: I know! So cool! Except Mattia can’t get it out!

Stacy: Contradicting myself completely, but I’m so glad not everyone is totally complicated. We need Dennis to remind us that teen angst usually stays there. It’s the true emotional turmoil that sticks with ya, lol.

Laurie: For the rest of your life!!!

Stacy: Haha. For ever and ever. The end.

Alex: I just wish Mattia could spit it out!!!!

Laurie: He’s so internalized I don’t know that that’s possible.

Stacy: I know. It’s so frustrating. But that’s the orbit thing — one thing or another stops them from actually taking that final step. He can’t make himself this guy who can say what he feels with ease.

Laurie: The whole water imagery thing is interesting. Apparently Giordano wanted the book to be called “In and Out of the Water”, not what it is!!!!

Alex: That’s so hard to imagine.

Stacy: Interesting. And totally the wrong call. (In my humble opinion)

Laurie: Yes, he and his editor had quite the battle over it apparently.

Stacy: The numbers connection is so, so on.

Laurie: Yeah, the numbers title is better. But there is that interesting notion of surface tension and what it takes to break it. Will Mattia break?

Alex: I have no idea. I feel like something has to give, but what will it be? Is it going to have a happy ending or be a total tragedy?

Stacy: Maybe it’s neither. Maybe it’s something much more true to life: you go on. It goes on. Neither joyful or tragic, just…there.

Laurie: Give in to Alice and be happy, or give in and not be. Or not be with Alice and be happy, or not. It’s hard to say which way it will go.

Alex: The journey is the destination and all that.

Laurie: Yes. Or just nothing, and exist. Yikes!! That’s just sad.

Alex: It’s an existential dilemma.

Laurie: That’s what I was just going to say. There is no perfect solution to this problem.

Alex: Shocking when he finally opens up to Alice. It seems to come from nowhere even, and you think here we go!!!!!!! And then he shuts down again.

Stacy: And then…nothing. That was the most frustrating thing. Feeling hopeful, and then nope. Forget about it.

Laurie: They’re hopeless. I had to laugh when on page 141, Mattia says he would change his brain for a normal one. Or even a package of biscotti.

Alex: Also, thoughts on Viola’s reappearance?

Laurie: So funny! Spin round the pole! Eat the lemon ice!

Alex: Oh my!!!! I really liked the controlled torture, the trickle of sweat, and even the hubby — run faster!

Laurie: Serves her right!

Stacy: And Alice is so cool: “It’s part of the classic package…”

Laurie: And who rides in a Porsche in their wedding dress for God’s sake?

Stacy: Rich people?

Laurie: It’s too little for a big wedding dress!!

Stacy: People with multiple wedding dresses?!

Laurie: That hubby is the one in for a ride.

Stacy: Especially since he’s the one who’ll bear the brunt of her rage when she has no pictures after having to do all that stupid stuff. Poor guy. He is altogether too sweet for Viola. Or maybe she’s actually lovely as an adult, but seeing Alice sent her right back to her horrid teen self….

Alex: Haha.

Stacy: Nah.

Laurie: Nah. Well, next week we find out if Alice and Mattia manage to touch or drift further apart in our last chat about The Solitude of Prime Numbers. Till then, ragazze!

Stacy: That’s Italian for peace out, huh? (Haha!)

Alex: One more sesh.

Laurie: You bet!