MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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I Married You for Happiness (2011)
Lily Tuck
Highly Rated!
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for literati.

A bittersweet and beautiful work of literature in which an artist sitting beside the corpse of her recently deceased mathematician husband recalls snippets of their lives: how they met, conceiving and raising their child, extramarital affairs, etc. In many of the vignettes the husband talks about or lectures about mathematics. Many of the usual popular mathematical topics show up (Pascal's wager, amicable numbers, Zeno's paradox, the tale of Hypatia, Erdos numbers, Schrodinger's cat, etc.) and in just a few of the instances the description is a bit off (I don't think a mathematician would say that "most" functions are invertible or that Zeno's paradox remains an enigma). But, the truth is, most of the mathematical references are spot on, not only accurate and well stated, but used quite artistically in a way that resonates with the story and its deeper themes. The book leaves one feeling somewhat more in touch with "the meaning of life", whatever that may be, and although it does it through the art of fiction, it uses mathematics in particular to achieve this, and in that sense is an exemplary work of mathematical fiction. (Besides, perhaps the mathematical "mistakes" I mention are Nina's, as it is her memories we witness, and she did not seem to really understand what her husband was saying anyway.)

BTW The acknowledgements at the end of the novel provide the sources for the mathematical (and other non-fictional) information that appears in the book.

Contributed by Anonymous

WOW an amzing peice of literature. i would reccomend it to anyone!

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Works Similar to I Married You for Happiness
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman
  2. Flea Circus: A Brief Bestiary of Grief by Mandy Keifetz
  3. The Art Student's War by Brad Leithauser
  4. The Forever Marriage by Ann Bauer
  5. The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer
  6. 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein
  7. The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall
  8. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  9. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  10. The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
Ratings for I Married You for Happiness:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3/5 (3 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.67/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
Genre
MotifRomance, Religion,
Topic
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)