a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Nesting Dolls (2020)
Alina Adams

A novel in three-parts focusing on three women in the same family over the course of a century. It is the middle story, concerning Natasha Crystal, that is most strongly connected to mathematics. Natasha is incredibly talented at mathematics and wishes to be a mathematician. However, there are obstacles to her obtaining that goal in the Soviet Union, namely the "Jewish Problems". Recognizing her ethnicity from her surname, the examiners at the university give her one additional deceptively difficult problem to solve after she successfully answers the first five she was given. This injustice that prevents her from achieving her dream of course has a tremendous impact on her entire life. A few references to mathematics, only some of which have to do directly with Natasha, also appear in the part of the book concerning her American granddaughter, Zoe.

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Works Similar to The Nesting Dolls
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Capacity for Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow
  2. The Girl Who Loved Mathematics by Elizabeth Smithers
  3. The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
  4. Continuums by Robert Carr
  5. Miss Havilland by Gay Daly
  6. A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved
  7. The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung
  8. Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska
  9. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
  10. The Queen's Gambit by Scott Frank (writer&director) / Allan Scott (writer) / Walter Tevis (writer)
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GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifAcademia, Female Mathematicians,

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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)