a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Proof of Love (2011)
Catherine Hall

A Cambridge maths grad student takes a holiday in England's remote and rural Lake District, hoping to be able to make progress on his research but instead learning more about his own humanity. A major plot point is his relationship with 10 year old Alice:

(quoted from The Proof of Love)

Spencer thought of the ladders of conjecture that led nowhere, the wrangles that he sweated over late at night, sequences of numbers, the world in which he spent most of his time; an abstract world, a beautiful but elusive place in which he was often lost. He had come to the valley hoping to find a clearer way through it.

"It's not really homework. It's sort of -- my job. Only, I never stop thinking about it. I do it all the time."

"What's the name of your school?"

"It's not actually a school, it's a university."

"What's a university?"

"It's where people go after they've been to school."

Alice frowned. "Dad didn't. he worked here with Grandad. I don't think Mam went either. Or Uncle Tom."

In this interview, the author explains that she herself grew up in such a community and that her father took the unusual step of studying advanced mathematics. "So", she says, "I began to think about maths, and the mathematicians that I knew when I went to university. They used to get very excited about their subject but because it's so hard to talk about to non-mathematicians, they often ended up somewhat isolated. I wanted to explore that feeling of isolation, especially in a place where intellectual pursuits aren't understood or valued."

This book, her second novel, was nominated for the London Book Award and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize.

Thanks to Sharanjit Paddam for suggesting that I add this book to my database.

More information about this work can be found at
(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.)

Works Similar to The Proof of Love
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin
  2. The Mathematics of Nina Gluckstein by Esther Vilar
  3. The Capacity for Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow
  4. A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved
  5. Miss Havilland by Gay Daly
  6. The Invention of Ana [Forestillinger om Ana Ivan] by Mikkel Rosengaard
  7. The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  8. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
  9. The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung
  10. Incendies by Denis Villeneuve / Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne / Wajdi Mouawad
Ratings for The Proof of Love:
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Mathematical Content:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

MotifAcademia, Romance,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)