a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
Fusun Akman, Coastal Carolina University|
"Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen is a part-Inuit Dane who is an expert on
ice and snow, and a mathematician to boot. She is depressed and/or
anxious most of the time, and the story is very dark, depressing, and
cold, but oddly fascinating.
Mathematics appears from time to time, for example, this lady is
so kooky she reads Euclid's "Elements" to a little boy who visits her
often. She uses her knowledge of ice to sort the clues in a crime
scene (and every chance she gets) and I suppose it is due partly to
her early childhood training and partly to mathematics."
"The book has some interesting mentions of mathematics (which forms a good
deal of Smilla's pleasure reading) but has some bizarre elementary
mistakes. I don't know if the mistakes are due to Hoeg's ignorance or
the ignorance of the English translator (the book was written in Danish).
The movie version has Hollywood's usual disdain for mathematics; all math
has been removed, except for a scene where Smilla reads Euclid's
Elements to a young boy for about a minute, then says "You couldn't
possibly be interested in this." Ugh!" ]
Note that this book was also made into a movie.
This international bestseller follows a strong female character in a thrilling mystery adventure across Greenland. What makes this especially interesting to read is the incredible number of connections to other subjects the author makes. A scientist by training, the main character sees the world and sees life in terms of mathematics and science. The characters are very well developed, which is especially surprising for the genre, but this is a surprising book all around and a pleasure to read. I have read it many many times over the years. I have yet to find another book that can find both tension in bread-baking and sadness in negative numbers.
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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.)|
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)