The Tenth Muse (Hardcover)
Ecco, 9780062574060, 304pp.
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
The first thing I remember being said of me with any consistency was that I was intelligent—and I recognized even then that it was a comment leveled at me with as much disapproval as admiration. Still, I never tried to hide or suppress my mind as some girls do, and thank God, because that would have been the beginning of the end.
From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems—who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition?
On her quest to conquer the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity, and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her—their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations.
In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.
About the Author
Catherine Chung won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, and has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Granta New Voice, and a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has a degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before receiving her MFA from Cornell University. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.
Praise For The Tenth Muse: A Novel…
— Entertainment Weekly
“A deft, spellbinding emotional puzzle-box of a book, rich and intricately layered. The Tenth Muse slowly, carefully builds to turn your every expectation on its head, and reading it feels like a glimpse of what mathematics might be in the eyes of its ablest practitioners—both secret and sublime.”
— Téa Obreht
“Catherine Chung’s gorgeous novel, The Tenth Muse, about mathematics and identity, and the cost of being a talented and ambitious woman in a world preoccupied with male success, rushed over me like a wave and carried me out to sea where, pleasantly, I drowned.”
— Manuel Gonzales, author of The Regional Office Is Under Attack!
“Arresting in scope and its treatment of time, its prose at turns crystalline and richly balletic, this story pulls puzzle from puzzle – human, historical, and all too contemporary.”
— Helen Oyeyemi, author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
“The Tenth Muse is a must-read. This beautiful, captivating novel has it all: A riveting family secret; a heroine ahead of her time; and a brilliant historical narrative that sheds light on the way we live now.”
— J. Courtney Sullivan