Emma Darwin
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The Mathematics Of Love

   The Mathematics of Love
 
   
This is that rare thing, a book that works on every conceivable level. Plot, pace, language and tone combine to produce an uncommonly good read, a piece of quietly confident writing that is remarkable in a first novel… This is a novel of extremes: there is suffering, violent and disturbing portraits of war and of personal loss; but equally extreme moments of joy and human understanding. At its core are the emotions that most shape us — love and loss.

These are big, unwieldy themes, but Emma Darwin wrestles with them in such a delicate and subtle way that the book never becomes tedious or self-absorbed. She builds layer on layer of emotion and history until, like a photographic print emerging from its chemical bath, the final picture is revealed… Everyone is, at the core, vulnerable, their happiness bittersweet and fleeting but nevertheless priceless. Darwin has somehow managed to express this basic human condition without succumbing to bleakness. A real achievement. The Times

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The Mathematics of Love is a daring debut novel that forces the reader to confront both the horrors of history and the destructiveness of misplaced passion. But its overriding theme is deliverance, as the two main characters face their troubled pasts and are freed from the ghosts that have haunted them… Emma Darwin's prose is golden and convincing. This book is an addictive, engaging foray into historical fiction that leaves the reader believing in the art of perspective and the redemptive power of love. Daily Express

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Historical romance, Gothic tale and Bildungsroman, Darwin's novel ponders its own processes, mesmerised by the "strips of time" that layer one another in a place. The narrative centres on the powerful nostalgia of a house in time, within a landscape that records the passage of generations...ambitious in concept and design. Its canvas is immense... the narrative of photography is electrifying. Darwin creates an imaginative language capable of suggesting the quality of the uncanny present in the humblest snapshot. The Independent

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The strange allure of Emma Darwin’s debut novel, The Mathematics of Love, reflects its enigmatic title. If there’s anything numerical about our affections, it’s higher math than most of us can compute, like the formulas behind snowflakes or hurricanes, and a similar sort of complexity makes this story just as fascinating. . . If you’re in a book club torn between lovers of 19th century and modern fiction, The Mathematics of Love may be just the thing to square the circle. The bilingual dexterity of this novel is one of its several triumphs as Darwin alternates between the murky moral chaos of the 1970s and the rigid formality of the genteel class in the early 19th century. Anna and Fairhurst, living in the same space though separated by time and unimaginable social changes, are equally haunting characters, the parallels between their lives tantalizing and evocative... [T]he two stories that Darwin tells here add up to something hauntingly beautiful. Washington Post Book World

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In her impressive first novel, The Mathematics of Love, Emma Darwin uses photography as a metaphoric device to develop hauntingly parallel stories… A brief synopsis of characters and plot can't capture the flavor of this beautifully written, intricately constructed novel. The stories, especially the one set in the 19th century, are complex... but Darwin is such a skillful writer that the momentum never flags. It's not, strictly speaking, a historical novel, or a romance, although Fairhurst's story has all the elements of romantic melodrama. It's an intelligent novel that addresses war, cruelty, love, and loss in a thoughtful way. Boston Globe

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A novel rapturous with the joys of history… Anna's story is told in a wonderfully convincing, brittle, adolescent voice… [the author] gives her treatment of history in this novel a poetic force and philosophical gloss with an ongoing and absorbing meditation on photographic processes. -The Australian

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Anna is a marvelous creation, a sort of every girl with no particular virtues or faults, but always compelling and believable. Her emotional credibility is evident in the voice Darwin has found for her… The characters who surround her are also so wonderfully rendered the reader can smell and feel them… beautifully rendered. -Los Angeles Times

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An ambitious beginning, as much a ghost story as a romance - The Observer

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…an absorbing historical novel of love and war... Linked themes between the narratives flower - painting versus photography, female liberation versus repression, the complexities of love. The Guardian

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Darwin, an impressive first-time novelist, is meticulous... characterisation is achieved with exceedingly fine needlework, tracing deep links between strangers who inhabit the same space at different times: their isolation and sexual vulnerability are both poignant. Darwin is patient with them both. Sydney Morning Herald

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A bravura and compelling feat of storytelling, enlivened by convincing detail and voices, as well as by serious reflection on the nature of memory, history and reportage. Publishing News

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… has a real flavour of its own that will grip you to the end… An accomplished, vividly realised debut novel. Marie Claire

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…a convincing and involving read. A book to lose yourself in this summer. Daily Mail

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…this wonderfully perceptive, nostalgic tale... is an enthralling and beautifully written romance. Psychologies

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Emma Darwin, happily, seems able to immerse herself in 19th Century England ... Both eerie and intriguing. Australian Financial Review

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The lives ...intertwine mysteriously in this compelling debut. Time Out

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This stunning novel delves deep into the pain and passion of love hard lost and won. By turns heart rending and heart mending… A beautiful and rare find. Good Book Guide

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It’s quite extraordinarily accomplished, a powerful debut. The Bookseller

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A beautifully written, intelligent book…as historically graphic and passionately romantic as Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. Waterstone's Books Quarterly

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Similar to Ian McEwan's Atonement in its compelling, literary blend of war history and romantic relationships... Darwin will be an author to watch. Library Journal

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An impressive first novel. The stories . . . fascinate in Darwin’s ambitious, alluring tale. People

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This is an excellent first novel. It is beautifully written: Emma Darwin is a natural writer and story teller who is also a highly professional author who never forgets her novelist’s instincts…[her] touch has the deceptive simplicity of a master. Her sense of time and place is faultless... the pace and tension does not falter…. This is a book that demands to be reread. It is erudite, unusual, and intriguing to the last page. www.bookgroup.info

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Moving effortlessly between two time periods, Darwin writes with flashes of great insight, threading her dual narratives together with the themes of art and photography. . . The Mathematics of Love is a tenderly rendered book, deeply sensual in the contemporary passages yet also austere in its depiction of nineteenth-century social propriety. The novel has all the restrained weaving of the elements: the horrors of war, the ache of first love, the untamed winds of passion, and the intrinsic complications that come with sexual fidelity . . . This view is astonishingly real as the unsuspecting passions of these two very different people are made to unwittingly collide beyond the realms of time. www.CurledUpWithAGoodBook.com

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