The Indian Clerk

The Indian Clerk

3.53 (1,302 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Description

On a January morning in 1913, G. H. Hardy - eccentric, charismatic and, at thirty-seven, already considered the greatest British mathematician of his age - receives a mysterious envelope covered with Indian stamps. Inside he finds a rambling letter from a self-professed mathematical genius who claims to be on the brink of solving the most important unsolved mathematical problem of his time. Some of his Cambridge colleagues dismiss the letter as a hoax, but Hardy becomes convinced that the Indian clerk who has written it - Srinivasa Ramanujan - deserves to be taken seriously. Aided by his collaborator, Littlewood, and a young don named Neville who is about to depart for Madras with his wife, Alice, he determines to learn more about the mysterious Ramanujan and, if possible, persuade him to come to Cambridge. It is a decision that will profoundly affect not only his own life, and that of his friends, but the entire history of mathematics. Based on the remarkable true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown - and unschooled - mathematical genius, and populated with such luminaries as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk fashions from this fascinating period an exquisitely nuanced and utterly compelling story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 160 x 234 x 44mm | 1,401.59g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747581681
  • 9780747581680
  • 830,843

Review quote

'A loving exploration of one of the greatest collaborations of the past century, THE INDIAN CLERK is a novel that brilliantly orchestrates questions of colonialism, sexual identity and the nature of genius' Manil Suri, author of THE DEATH OF VISHNU 'The certainty attributed to mathematics is richly contrasted to the uncertainty of human relationships in Leavitt's unusual and absorbing eighth novel impressively researched, insistently readable and keenly sensitive easily Leavitt's best-and a heartening indication that [Leavitt] has reached a new level of artistic maturity' Kirkus 'An insightful presentation of the entrancing, obsessive strangeness and beauty of pure mathematics in the Cambridge of Hardy and Ramanujah. A memorable feat' Edmund White 'One of his generation's most gifted authors' New York Timesshow more

About David Leavitt

David Leavitt is the author of several novels including The Lost Language of Cranes, three story collections and, most recently, The Body of Jonah Boyd. He lives in Gainesville, where he teaches at the University of Florida and edits the literary journal Subtropics.show more

Rating details

1,302 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 16% (209)
4 40% (517)
3 30% (387)
2 11% (139)
1 4% (50)
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