The Other Einstein, ★★✫ (To be placed between very enjoyable read, recommendable,
and meh, nothing remarkable.)
Published in October 2016
This was another of our book club books, 11 fairly recent books. I’m fine with that. Book club provides me with a list of books I’d otherwise not pick. I like the non fiction choices. I’ve said before I believe that, out of what’s written these days, I value non fiction more. There’s in my opinion, two distinctive type of books, the forgettable, and the unforgettable. I’m not saying one should only and always be reading the unforgettable, it’s just that I like to make this distinction when I’m talking about books I read. And for my personal purpose, I like to do some thinking on the books I read, since they are my conscious choices.
All that being said, I don’t know whether I personally like reading this type of books. I’m referring to historical fiction, or even less than that, fiction that mixes or plays with facts, that writes a ‘could have been’ take on some events or the life of someone. The impact of a novel that employs elements taken from the lives of known people, such as Einstein and Mileva in this case, makes it more alluring than a completely fictional story about a famous made up scientist and his wife. This article captures part of my mixed feelings about this book, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/…
This book revolves around the idea that Mileva, Einstein’s first wife, was “the other Einstein”, or the person behind the papers Einstein published with his theory of relativity. There’s some correspondence between them that suggest she may have had a part in the development of the theory, nothing conclusive though. The Other Einstein also hones on the role of women at the time of Mileva Einstein and Marie Curie, who had to pave the way for women to be present in the world of academia, at the universities, research labs, and places that had been occupied, not only by man, but by certain man. (Prejudice extended to those of Eastern Europe and Jews). That speculation of how the theory of relativity may have come to Mileva’s mind was my favorite part of the book.
I can’t say that this book is not well written, yet I have to add that I’m spoiled rotten by books that give me more than just a suspenseful plot, and a flowing narrative. From the beginning, it read with a familiarity that at times it turned into nearly boredom saved by the fact the book moves relatively fast. I knew the nooks and crannies she was going to reveal. But like with Ove, this wasn’t a waste of time either. Actually, as I opened the last of Kristin Lavransdatter’s trilogy, The Cross, the Mileva of this book reminds me to Kristin. It’ll be a good conversation at book club, I know.