The Blurb (from Goodreads):
I have wished so many times that I had acted differently.
I wish that I had been more worthy of you…
Eventually the war will end, and then we will find each other.
Until then, remember me.
Budapest, 1938. In a city park, five young Jewish mathematicians gather to share ideas, trade proofs and whisper sedition.
Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now Illy’s mother has gifted her a curious notebook, its pages a mix of personal story and mathematical discovery, recounted by a woman full of hopes and regrets.
Inspired by a true story, Miriam Sved’s beautifully crafted novel charts a course through both the light and dark of human relationships: a vivid recreation of 1930s Hungary, a decades-old mystery locked in the story of one enduring friendship, a tribute to the selfless power of the heart.
A friend gave me this book because she thought that I would love it, and she was right.
A Universe of Sufficient Size is a beautiful novel that centres on a group of five young Jewish mathematicians in Budapest, Hungary, at the outbreak of the Second World War. Interwoven with their tale of friendship, love, and struggle to survive is the story of one of the women’s daughter and grandson in contemporary Australia, as they deal with the shadows of her past. The title reflects the powerful use of mathematical philosophies throughout the narrative, but do not let this scare you off – I struggle with the simplest of numerical equations, but still found the mathematics in the book quite fascinating. Miriam Sved was inspired by the true story of her grandmother, mathematician Marta Wachsberger, and I found this historical basis of the story very poignant. It’s also beautifully written – clever, lyrical and heartfelt. Highly recommended.