a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Geometry of Love (1966)
John Cheever
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for literati.

An engineer is inspired by a passing truck from "Euclid's Dry Cleaning" to apply geometric principles to his own marital problems. He finds that interpreting his family as a triangle has the advantage of making things less confusing and emotional. Or, at least, it makes them seem less confusing and emotional, and he does not seem to care whether there is a difference. Encouraged by this "success", he begins to rely on geometry whenever things become unpleasant or (as they eventually do) tragic.

This story appears in the Pulitzer Prize winning collection "The Stories of John Cheever" and was published originally in The Saturday Evening Post Jan 1 1966. A scan of the original SEP version is presently available for free at

Update January 2020: Robert Haas has published an analysis of this story in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. You can read Haas' article, which focuses on the relationship between this story and Cheever's own life, here.

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 Geometry of Love
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Desirable Middle by Susan Sechrist
  2. Tracking the Random Variable by Marcos Donnelly
  3. The Equationist by J. D. Moyer
  4. The Love Formula by Giulia Clerici / Giulia Pasqualini
  5. Slightly Perfect / Are you with it? by George Malcolm-Smith (Novel) / Sam Perrin (Script) / George Balzer (Script)
  6. Stranger than Fiction by Marc Forster (Director) / Zach Helm (Screenplay)
  7. A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin
  8. Het gemillimeterde hoofd (The Cropped Head) by Gerrit Krol
  9. The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  10. Tigor (aka The Snowflake Constant) by Peter Stephan Jungk
Ratings for The Geometry of Love:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)

MotifMath as Cold/Dry/Useless, Romance,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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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)