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The Indian Clerk


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Stephen Fry is writing the screenplay and Scott Rudin is producing the film for Miramax, to be filmed in 2009. For fans of Proof by David Auburn, Possession by A.S. Byatt and A Beautiful Mind (a film starring Russell Crowe).Based on a remarkable true story.

About the Author

David Leavitt is the author of several novels including The Lost Language of Cranes, three story collections and, most recently, The Body of Jonah Boyd. He lives in Gainesville, where he teaches at the University of Florida and edits the literary journal Subtropics.


Set at Cambridge University in the early 20th century, this ambitious new historical novel from the author of The Lost Language of Cranes is based on the life of English mathematician G.H. Hardy and his partnership with the self-taught Indian genius Ramanujan, whom Hardy was instrumental in bringing to England. Although Leavitt has written with a very literate reader in mind and has clearly done his math homework, it is not necessary to know anything about the featured Reimann hypothesis to enjoy this excellent book. Among the many themes explored here are the conflict between scientific rationalism and ancient religious traditions, the terrible culture shock Indians felt in England 100 years ago, the disastrous effect the Great War had on life in Cambridge, and, most of all, the frailty of human relationships. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and also suggested for larger public collections.-Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'A loving exploration of one of the greatest collaborations of the past century, The Indian Clerk is a novel that brilliantly orchestrates questions of colonialism, sexual identity and the nature of genius' Manil Suri 'Leavitt brings to life a world of maths and mysticism' Observer 'Impressive ... Leavitt plunges us, like Ramanujan, into a world of academic squabbling and wartime privation' Times Literary Supplement 'Excellent ... His Hardy is a superb creation ... The author also synthesises huge amounts of engrossing period gossip ... the snatches of backbiting and shop-talk richly convey the anxieties of the intellectual climate' Saturday Telegraph

Ambitious, erudite and well-sourced, Leavitt's 12th work of fiction centers on the relationship between mathematicians G.H. Hardy (1877-1947) and Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920). In January of 1913, Cambridge-based Hardy receives a nine-page letter filled with prime number theorems from S. Ramanujan, a young accounts clerk in Madras. Intrigued, Hardy consults his colleague and collaborator, J.E. Littlewood; the two soon decide Ramanujan is a mathematical genius and that he should emigrate to Cambridge to work with them. Hardy recruits the young, eager don, Eric Neville, and his wife, Alice, to travel to India and expedite Ramanujan's arrival; Alice's changing affections, WWI and Ramanujan's enigmatic ailments add obstacles. Meanwhile, Hardy, a reclusive scholar and closeted homosexual, narrates a second story line cast as a series of 1936 Harvard lectures, some of them imagined. Ramanujan comes to renown as the "the Hindu calculator"; discussions of mathematics and bits of Cambridge's often risque academic culture (including D.H. Lawrence's 1915 visit) add authenticity. Hardy is hardly likable, however, and Leavitt (While England Sleeps, etc.) packs too much into the epic-length proceedings, at the expense of pace. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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