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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Indian Clerk

by

The Indian Clerk Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The brilliant new novel from one of our most respected writershis most ambitious and accessible to date.

 

On a January morning in 1913, G. H. Hardyeccentric, charismatic and, at thirty-seven, already considered the greatest British mathematician of his agereceives in the mail a mysterious envelope covered with Indian stamps. Inside he finds a rambling letter from a self-professed mathematical genius who claims to be on the brink of solving the most important unsolved mathematical problem of all time. Some of his Cambridge colleagues dismiss the letter as a hoax, but Hardy becomes convinced that the Indian clerk who has written itSrinivasa Ramanujandeserves to be taken seriously. Aided by his collaborator, Littlewood, and a young don named Neville who is about to depart for Madras with his wife, Alice, he determines to learn more about the mysterious Ramanujan and, if possible, persuade him to come to Cambridge. It is a decision that will profoundly affect not only his own life, and that of his friends, but the entire history of mathematics.

Based on the remarkable true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknownand unschooledmathematical genius, and populated with such luminaries such as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk takes this extraordinary slice of history and transforms it into an emotional and spell-binding story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world.

David Leavitt is the author of several novels, including The Body of Jonah Boyd, While England Sleeps, and Equal Affections. A recipient of fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he teaches at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A New York Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year
 
On a January morning in 1913, G. H. Hardyeccentric, charismatic and, at thirty-seven, already considered the greatest British mathematician of his agereceives in the mail a mysterious envelope covered with Indian stamps. Inside he finds a rambling letter from a self-professed mathematical genius who claims to be on the brink of solving the most important unsolved mathematical problem of all time. Some of his Cambridge colleagues dismiss the letter as a hoax, but Hardy becomes convinced that the Indian clerk who has written itSrinivasa Ramanujandeserves to be taken seriously. Aided by his collaborator, Littlewood, and a young don named Neville who is about to depart for Madras with his wife, Alice, he determines to learn more about the mysterious Ramanujan and, if possible, persuade him to come to Cambridge. It is a decision that will profoundly affect not only his own life, and that of his friends, but the entire history of mathematics.

Based on the true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknownand unschooledmathematical genius, and populated with such luminaries such as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk takes this extraordinary slice of history and transforms it into an emotional and spell-binding story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world.

"Mathematics and its paradoxes provide a deep vein of metaphor that Leavitt uses to superb effect, demonstrating how the most meaningful relationships can defy both logic and imagination."The New Yorker

"Leavitt, a fine writer, has captured not just the complex nature of their partnership, but also a sense of the context: In his telling, England at the turn of the 20th century fits the phrase he uses to describe a particular boarding house, as 'a room grown stale from its own protection.' But beneath the surface of this story lurk issues that feel as fresh as today's news. Most importantly, the novel addresses the clash of cultures as Britain's empire-building came home to roost."Seattle Times 

"Extensively researched . . . [a] richly layered, rueful portrait . . . Leavitt has tapped into marvelous material."San Francisco Chronicle

"A beautiful and creative work that manages to portray a melange of the literary, historical, romantic and academic, with breathtaking prose and deeply nuanced characters."Pittsburg Post-Gazette

"Leavitt makes the math of prime numbers surprisingly palatable. But we learn more about the complexities of love and work, and their interaction. In Hardy, Leavitt has created a rich character."Boston Globe

"Erudite and well researched, and Leavitt writes about pure mathematics in a way that won't utterly baffle those of us who didn't get beyond pre-calculus in high school ."Christian Science Monitor

“A novel about people who really existed, recreated by an author who plays with the facts, and especially the intriguing lacunae, of their lives . . . richly imagined . . . Leavitt's porttrait of Hardy is a remarkable achievement . . . Leavitt has been praised and condemned for the explicit sex in his fiction, but it is his candid exploration of class that sets him apart from most American writers . . . It's usually not possible to know real people as well as writers can know fictional characters, and it's to Leavitt's enormous credit that he makes these historical personages so vividly complex . . . Leavitt has a passion to inhabit the past, a particular novelistic impulse that goes beyond simple 'animation' of history. The research that went into The Indian Clerk is impressive . . . reading it offers the pleasure of escape into another world, along with the nagging feeling of familiarity that characterizes the best historical fiction."The New York Times Book Review

"This is a daring novel in a most unusual way. It is as if David Leavitt had challenged himself to novelize the subject most inimical to fiction, and when the eureka moment arrived, it was a vision ofmathematics!"Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Excellent…highly recommended.”  Library Journal, starred review

"A profoundly moving tale that illuminates the agony of repressed feelings and the thrill of intellectual discovery. Think Remains of the Day meets Good Will Hunting.”Entertainment Weekly

“Leavitts copiously researched new novel focuses on a relatively narrow world that he nevertheless illuminates into its deepest recesses . . . Leavitt explores the legend that grew up around Ramanujan, finds what is real in the myth that shrouded his actual being, and in the process reaches impressive heights of understanding the psyche of the intellectual as well as those who seek company with the brilliant-minded."Booklist

"A loving exploration of one of the greatest collaborations of the past century, The Indian Clerk is a novel that brilliantly orchestrates questions of colonialism, sexual identity and the nature of genius."Manil Suri, author of The Death of Vishnu

"The certainty attributed to mathematics is richly contrasted to the uncertainty of human relationships in Leavitt's unusual and absorb

Review:

"'Ambitious, erudite and well-sourced, Leavitt's 12th work of fiction centers on the relationship between mathematicians G.H. Hardy (1877 — 1947) and Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 — 1920). In January of 1913, Cambridge-based Hardy receives a nine-page letter filled with prime number theorems from S. Ramanujan, a young accounts clerk in Madras. Intrigued, Hardy consults his colleague and collaborator, J.E. Littlewood; the two soon decide Ramanujan is a mathematical genius and that he should emigrate to Cambridge to work with them. Hardy recruits the young, eager don, Eric Neville, and his wife, Alice, to travel to India and expedite Ramanujan's arrival; Alice's changing affections, WWI and Ramanujan's enigmatic ailments add obstacles. Meanwhile, Hardy, a reclusive scholar and closeted homosexual, narrates a second story line cast as a series of 1936 Harvard lectures, some of them imagined. Ramanujan comes to renown as the 'the Hindu calculator'; discussions of mathematics and bits of Cambridge's often risqu academic culture (including D.H. Lawrence's 1915 visit) add authenticity. Hardy is hardly likable, however, and Leavitt (While England Sleeps, etc.) packs too much into the epic-length proceedings, at the expense of pace. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"David Leavitt's intelligent, ambitious new novel based on historical fact begins in 1936 with an aging professor at a podium. The renowned British mathematician G.H. Hardy has come to Harvard to lecture on the life and work of his friend Srinivasa Ramanujan, considered by many to have possessed one of the most beautiful mathematical minds of the past few centuries. A decade younger than Hardy (who... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

“Richly imagined [and] impressive” (New York Times Book Review), this critically acclaimed and emotionally charged novel about the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown—and unschooled—mathematical genius is historical fiction at its best: ambitious, profound, and absorbing.

Based on the remarkable true story of G. H. Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan, and populated with such luminaries such as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk takes this extraordinary slice of history and transforms it into an emotional and spellbinding story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world. A literary masterpiece, it appeared on four bestseller lists, including the Los Angeles Times, and received dazzling reviews from every major publication in the country. 

Synopsis:

Based on the remarkable true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown mathematical genius, this brilliant new novel transforms this bit of history into an emotional and spell-binding story.

About the Author

David Leavitt is the author of several novels, including The Body of Jonah Boyd, While England Sleeps, and Equal Affections. A recipient of fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he teaches at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781596910409
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Leavitt, David
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Mathematicians
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Ramanujan Aiyangar, Srinivasa
Subject:
General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080916
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Indian Clerk Used Hardcover
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Product details 496 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596910409 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Ambitious, erudite and well-sourced, Leavitt's 12th work of fiction centers on the relationship between mathematicians G.H. Hardy (1877 — 1947) and Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 — 1920). In January of 1913, Cambridge-based Hardy receives a nine-page letter filled with prime number theorems from S. Ramanujan, a young accounts clerk in Madras. Intrigued, Hardy consults his colleague and collaborator, J.E. Littlewood; the two soon decide Ramanujan is a mathematical genius and that he should emigrate to Cambridge to work with them. Hardy recruits the young, eager don, Eric Neville, and his wife, Alice, to travel to India and expedite Ramanujan's arrival; Alice's changing affections, WWI and Ramanujan's enigmatic ailments add obstacles. Meanwhile, Hardy, a reclusive scholar and closeted homosexual, narrates a second story line cast as a series of 1936 Harvard lectures, some of them imagined. Ramanujan comes to renown as the 'the Hindu calculator'; discussions of mathematics and bits of Cambridge's often risqu academic culture (including D.H. Lawrence's 1915 visit) add authenticity. Hardy is hardly likable, however, and Leavitt (While England Sleeps, etc.) packs too much into the epic-length proceedings, at the expense of pace. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

“Richly imagined [and] impressive” (New York Times Book Review), this critically acclaimed and emotionally charged novel about the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown—and unschooled—mathematical genius is historical fiction at its best: ambitious, profound, and absorbing.

Based on the remarkable true story of G. H. Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan, and populated with such luminaries such as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk takes this extraordinary slice of history and transforms it into an emotional and spellbinding story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world. A literary masterpiece, it appeared on four bestseller lists, including the Los Angeles Times, and received dazzling reviews from every major publication in the country. 

"Synopsis" by , Based on the remarkable true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown mathematical genius, this brilliant new novel transforms this bit of history into an emotional and spell-binding story.
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