Half Life
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Half Life

4.11 (304 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The USA Today bestselling author of In Another Time reimagines the pioneering, passionate life of Marie Curie using a parallel structure to create two alternative timelines, one that mirrors her real life, one that explores the consequences for Marie and for science if she'd made a different choice.

In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.But what if she had made a different choice?

What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted, instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie?

Entwining Marie Curie's real story with Marya Zorawska's fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled--and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge. Through parallel contrasting versions of Marya's life, Jillian Cantor's unique historical novel asks what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. It examines how the lives of one remarkable woman and the people she loved - as well as the world at large and course of science and history--might have been irrevocably changed in ways both great and small.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 132 x 201 x 28mm | 295g
  • English
  • 0062969889
  • 9780062969880
  • 720,851

Review Text

"Jillian Cantor's beautifully written Half Life is a poignant exploration of ambition, family, gender, and love. I couldn't put down this tender, nuanced, and inspiring novel. This is a book for anyone who's ever been torn by conflicting passions and loyalties; in other words, this is a book for all of us. A dazzling must-read." Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie Lee and Girl in Translation
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Review quote

"Cantor has created an absorbing biographical novel and performed an engaging riff on the "what if" ponderings we all experience.--Booklist
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About Jillian Cantor

Cantor, Jillian

Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
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Rating details

304 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 37% (112)
4 43% (131)
3 15% (45)
2 4% (13)
1 1% (3)
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