a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|The poetic ramblings of an aging author confined to her New York apartment, who presumably is Maureen Howard herself, include short stories about the ongoing lives of her characters, including the math professor Artie Freeman.|
Freeman is a topologist married to an artist. The main plot of his story is his testimony in court on behalf of a childhood friend now accused of white collar crimes. But, behind that we see him doubting his own mathematical abilities and moping over the fact that his research connected to mathematical physics was "scooped" by a fellow at MIT.
I found the writing style off-putting, especially since Artie Freeman's story is delivered in first person (pp. 35-64) and I cannot quite imagine that he would sound like this:
To me this sounds more like a literary author trying to write something profound than the inner thoughts of an insecure math professor. In fact, many readers interpret Howard's apologies for his lack of success as a mathematician as representing her own thoughts about her career as a writer.
So, is this a short story or a novel? I'm really not sure. It is a novel about an author which includes some of her short stories in it. I should mention that Freeman's wife gets her own short story later in the book, and so he also gets mentioned there. Also, for some reason, the real mathematician Peter Lax gets mentioned (and quoted) on page 19. (I suppose he really is a neighbor of Maureen Howard, though I have not confirmed this.)
The Rags of Time is the fourth book in a series and the character of Artie Freeman appears in the earlier ones as well and his grandparents also appear as regular characters in the books. However, mathematics does not play as large a role in those earlier appearances and so I do not intend to give them their own entries in this database.
|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.)|
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)