a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Halvor Aakhus, who has an undergraduate degree in math and an MFA in writing, wrote this unusual work of fiction that takes the form of a novel by an apparently dead author named Knut Knudson which has been edited and annotated his angry lover, who is a mathematician. Moreover, the lover herself appears in the novel as "Claire" and the novel is about their relationship with her mother who is dying of a brain tumor (but is portrayed in Knut's novel as Claire's father, a former math professor with a benign brain tumor).|
Both the excerpts from the "novel" itself (which is identifiable in the printed version of this work since it looks like they are on water damaged paper that has been taped onto graph paper) and the annotations from the angry lover contain frequent and advanced (if not also bizarre and inappropriate) references to mathematics. These include, for example, a block matrix representing an arrangement of beer bottles and a discussion of its invertibility and a footnote that uses three pages to list all of the digits of the 24th perfect number (see below). In addition, it also mimics the structure of a math textbook by labeling claims and by including exercises, proofs and mathematical diagrams. There's also plenty of musical notation and terminology floating around in it as well.
The result is, in my opinion, creative and interesting. Although I wish there was more of a stylistic difference between the supposed writings of Knut and the annotator to make it easier to believe they were not written by the same person, I can see why this work was selected for the $10,000 "Henfield Prize for Fiction" and why David Leavitt's blurb compares him to David Foster Wallace.
For more information and also to get a sense of its bizarre atmosphere, you can visit the Book of Knut Webpage.
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com.|
|(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)|
Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)