What a roller coaster ride this book is! The first half tells the tale of a brilliant, self-absorbed, alcohol addicted, misogynistic, mathematician, Milo Andret, who goes from child wonder to adult ass. The second half is told from the POV of the son, Hans, yet another mathematician, addicted to pills, but with manners, morals and the wisdom to make and save real money. It is his role to try to explain his father to the reader. It almost works, but the bow at the end is tied a bit too prettily.
None the less, I loved this book. I made me think about choices we make. Helena, Milo’s secretary and then wife, when asked by her son why she stayed in the marriage so long and without apparent bitterness replied, “We make choices, then we make them the right choices”. When I discussed this with my niece, Tracy, a teacher of mathematics, she enlightened me how that phrase describes the world of quantum physics and mathematics. That every second in the universe is based on decisions and we can’t have a “do-over”; everything moves forward (or in whatever direction) as a result of each decision. I hadn’t expected Helena to be describing her life in her husband’s terms – but it is so fitting. And a good take away for anyone who agonizes over life choices.