a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|After his mother's death, a young Turkish man seeks his father's killer. His father was a very charismatic, conceited and famous mathematician, but aside from that there is little math in the book. The mathematical points of interest include:
Some readers may appreciate the inclusion of post-modernist twists (e.g. the author appears as a character, chapters alternate being from the point of view of the son and the assassin, etc.), but I found the characters to be unpleasant stereotypes (not just the condescending mathematician, but others as well), the sex and violence in poor taste, and the attempts at creativity too heavy handed. (Of course, some of this may be the fault of the translators. I have read the 2008 English translation by Telegram and not the original Annemin Öğretmediği Şarkılar!)
- The father is described as being "unmatched in Graph Theory" and publishing in The Journal of Combinatorial Theory.
- Strangely, the author seems not to know what "graph theory" is. His description "the ability to define the concepts of daily life that relate to mathematics, in the language of numbers" (which the book itself calls unsatisfactory) is so far from satisfactory as to be ridiculous. (Graph theory is the branch of mathematics that studies the ways in which a collection of points can be connected by lines. This does have applications. For instance, as applied in Who Killed the Duke of Densmore? the points represent people and lines between them indicate that the people were in the same place at the same time. More realistically, graph theory is applied by those who study the Internet, for instance with points being Websites and lines between them indicating that one page contains a link to the other.)
- The father is said to have had the ability to multiply five digit numbers in his head. The son has the ability to similarly multiply six digit numbers, but hides this skill from his parents.
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|(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)