The Mathematician’s Shiva

I love the cover of this book!   And inside,  although it starts a bit slow, it certainly doesn’t disappoint!  This is a very engaging, funny, intelligent, heart-warming, (perhaps bitter-sweet is the word I want but don’t like)   debut novel generally about life in a  Jewish immigrant family of mathematicians.   It’s a kind of loving celebration of that life and death as they say good-bye to an outstanding woman who was a brilliant mathematician as well as a wife, mother, teacher,  mentor and activist for defectors from Russia where she had had an incredibly difficult time as a child in the gulags.

shiva2The Mathematician’s Shiva
by Stuart Rojstaczer
2014 / 384 pages
read by Angela Brazil and Stephen R. Thorne  10h 38m
rating: 8 (for the fun)
(read and listened – both!)

The book is divided into 3 Parts but 4 time frames which overlap a bit in places due to story-telling and back-stories.   It starts out in winter of 2012,  eleven years after the basic tale the first-person narrator wants to tell which is of the death, funeral,  shiva and the aftermath of his mother.

Rachela Karnokovitch was a noted Russian defector/immigrant and mathematician as well as the mother of our narrator Alexander”Sasha” Karnokovitch.   At the book’s opening (2012)  Sasha is remembering back to the day she phoned (2001)  to tell him she was dying and wanted him there with her at her home in Wisconsin.  So Sasha, her only child and age 60, drives from Nebraska to be with her and she is then moved to the hospital.   There are others present  – Rachela’s brother Shlomo as well as her  ex-husband who is  Sasha’s father.  Uncle Shlomo brings the booze.  Sasha promises his mother that he and his father will stay connected and after she passes the two decide to have a small, simple family shiva at her house.  Bruce, Uncle Shlomo’s son,  and Anna,  a defector Rachela took in many year prior arrive a bit later.   This is the family.  >>>>MORE (No spoilers)>>>> 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Mathematician’s Shiva

  1. jameswharris says:

    I need to try this one. Love the title.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s