a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
"William E. Emba"|
Solzhenitsyn had been a math major until Hitler and Stalin came up
with a different career path for him, and TFC is based on his own
brief stay in the luxury side of the Gulag, which he claims saved
his life and mind.
This novel is set in the first circle of the Gulag, where
the scientist and engineer prisoners were engaged in forced
military/scientific research. The main character and some
minor ones are mathematicians. Mathematical comments and
musings show up lightly scattered throughout the novel.
The title is an allusion to Dante's Inferno, which had Hell
arranged in seven circles. The outermost (first) circle was
reserved for the better folks who were denied Heaven, but who
got off lightly and were not tortured.
Talks about Eulers equations and derivatives. Guys are working on technical stuff, speech clippers and limiters on a secure phone for Stalin. Mostly just a great novel. As a practicing engineer chapter 17 and a few chapters preceeding it are really quite similar to what I have seen in industry here. Impossible schedules, that workers know are impossible. The difference is management reports to Stalin, with life and death control over the people in charge.
This book (and Cancer Ward, another great novel by Solzhenitsyn) gives a fantastic look at life in the Soviet Union through characters with great depth and passion even though they are under extreme hardship.
A truly fantastic book that I am reading over again.
Solzhenitsyn is a great writer.
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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)