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The brilliant new novel from one of our most respected writers—his most ambitious and accessible to date.
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 in the mail 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 all 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,…[more]
Tender, unsettling, and amusing, these stories present families all unhappy in their own different ways. A mother who presides over her local Parents of Lesbians and Gays chapter has trouble accepting her son’s lover. A recently separated couple’s compulsion to maintain a twenty-six-year tradition seems to magnify futility. The New York Times called this collection “astonishing—funny, eloquent, and wise.”
Set against the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe, While England Sleeps tells the story of a love affair between the aristocratic young British writer Brian Botsford, who thinks homosexuality is something he will outgrow, and Edward Phelan, a sensitive and idealistic working-class employee of the London Underground and a Communist party member. When the strains of class difference, sexual taboo, and Brian’s ambivalence impel Edward to volunteer to fight against Franco in Spain, Brian pursues him across Europe and into the violent chaos of war.