There are some even more special primes. They are those that mathematicians call twin primes, since an even number always comes between them. Thus, numbers such as 11 and 13, 17 and 19, or 41 and 43, remain close, but never touch each other. This mathematical truth is the beautiful metaphor that the author has chosen to narrate the moving story of Alice and Mattia, two beings whose lives have been conditioned by the irreversible consequences of two episodes that occurred in their childhood. From adolescence until well into adulthood, and despite the strong attraction that undoubtedly unites them, life will erect invisible barriers between them that will test the strength of their relationship. The subtlety of the psychological traits of the characters, as well as the depth and complexity of a story that arouses the most varied reactions in readers, highlight the admirable literary maturity of this young author when it comes to showing, nothing more and nothing less, to the essence of loneliness.


«The solitude of prime numbers” of Paolo Giordano metaphorically compares the mathematical phenomenon known as «twin prime numbers» that are characterized by being separated by another intermediate number, for example, the number 11 and 13; with the lives of the protagonists, a kind of distant relationship that forces them to have an abyss that separates them even though they are so close.

The protagonists are Alice y Mattia, each one with a tragedy that will mark them for life, while Alice suffers an accident that leaves her leg crippled; Mattia loses his twin sister, a mentally retarded girl of whom he was ashamed. Circumstances cause them to meet and create a strong but impersonal friendship, a misty and intangible relationship.

The situation of friendship between Alice and Mattia is the strong point in the entire narrative, Giordano manages to establish a strange atmosphere of union between the protagonists, two people with demons that they were unable to overcome and that still haunt them in their adulthood; The abyss between them is so well established that it manages to overwhelm the reader in the same way as the alienated personalities in the world of Alice and Mattia, being more noticeable in the latter.

Giordano It brings a simple narrative, without tricks or presumptions, it only exposes how two people come together without merging, two perfect strangers who are supposed to be friends, who are supposed to be loved by each other, but who deep in their souls are not. more than selfish entities that dance to the rhythm of circumstances.

“The Solitude of Prime Numbers” is not a novel for everyone, it is rather an adolescent cry of what life is supposed to be like from a youthful vision, a narrative almost without purpose, a story as empty as the spirit of its protagonists is empty. , it can also cause an abyss to form between the reader and the story, ironically creating a distance like that of “twin prime numbers.”


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Paolo Giordano

Paolo Giordano

Italian writer born in Turin in 1982, Paolo Giordano has a cum laude degree in Physics and combines research in his field with writing.

Passionate about stories, he constantly publishes stories in magazines such as Gioia.

He achieved international success thanks to his debut work, The Solitude of Prime Numbers, with which he won the 2008 Strega Prize. With this book he sold more than a million copies, being translated into five languages ​​and receiving a film adaptation directed by Saverio Constanzo.

Giordano is also the author of other novels such as The Human Body, Like Family and Conquer Heaven. In 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, he published In Times of Contagion, a book full of reflections and emotions about the complex situation that society was facing.

Among other awards, Giordano has received the Merck Serono, the Frignano and the aforementioned Strega.


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