In the latest by the author of Forgotten Country, Katherine, a mathematician, is on a quest to conquer the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time. When she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history, she realizes that it holds both the lock and key to her identity and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany.
Mathematics and its history, the legacy of WWII, and the struggles women face in pursuing academic success, especially in fields dominated by men, are woven into this novel that Chung...renders in polished prose.
Chung’s novel, with its formality and clean chronology, seems a throwback to another time, like a perfectly tailored tuxedo. But that’s perfect for a memorable character like Katherine, whose belief in what she has to offer the world, and in her place in the lineage of women 'who chose a different path,' never wavers. A powerful and virtuosically researched story about the mysteries of the head and the heart.
Chung’s impressive, poignant second novel ... persuasively interweaves myths and legends with the real-world stories of lesser-known women mathematicians and of WWII on both the European and Asian fronts. The legacy that Katherine inherits may defy the kinds of elegant proofs to which mathematicians aspire, but Chung’s novel boldly illustrates that truth and beauty can reside even amid the messiest solutions.