According to his bio, Paolo Giordano is a 28 year-old particle physicist. I am hoping that this novel, his first, is not just a TDM (Thinly Disguised Memoir) because I would hate to think he has exhausted his best material.
THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS grabs you from the first sentence (“Alice Della Rocca hated ski school”) and doesn’t let go. This book is about two people whose acts of rebellion as children have life-long consequences. Alice becomes, in her words, a “cripple” (and then an anorexic), while Mattia makes a horrible decision about his twin sister, and his guilt leads him to cut himself. When they meet, it is in some ways like looking in the mirror.
Their lives march on, but they are essentially (and existentially) stuck. The book’s chief suspense is whether or not they will become unstuck, and if so, how.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say this: Things happen.