a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
John Dixon, Carleton University|
Main character is a women studying chimpanzees in Africa, but her
ex-husband is a set theorist who goes mad because he fails to prove a
Herman De Wael|
One of my favourite authors, and one of his best books.
The human relations are excellent, the chimp relations frightening.
The relationship with the ex-husband deteriorates because of his maths.
Some maths is explained - not nearly necessary for any maths fan.
Written before the proof of Fermat's last theorem.
I think this an outstanding novel. I have taught it as a text for 17 year-old students who find the richness of its themes really engaging. You can look at it as a novel of ideas, or as a post-colonial state-of-Africa novel, or as meditation on anthropological & evolutionary matters.
It has been years since I read "Brazzaville Beach," but I still think about it and remember the pleasure it gave me. It's one of the "meatiest" books I've read. I'm not a mathematician, but that doesn't stop me from reading beyond my capacity. That way when something in one book or article connects to another, it's such a joy to understand. "Brazzaville Beach" was one of those connections.
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)