Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine: A Novel (Paperback)
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE * A NEW YORK TIMES GLOBETROTTING PICK
A remarkable and heartbreaking debut novel with the lyrical beauty and emotional resonance of By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept and the thematic complexity of Asymmetry, that combines fractal mathematics and classical music to explore the infinitely complex patterns of love and the thin border between great passion and great loneliness.
Rakel has always been more comfortable with numbers than with people. A gifted woman with a rare talent for math, she has never mastered the art of making friends. At nineteen, she moves to Oslo to attend university. There she meets Jakob, a brilliant older teacher who becomes fascinated by Rakel’s quick mind.
Jakob is struck by the similarities between Rakel and Sofja Kovalevskaja, the first woman to become a professor of mathematics, and the subject of the novel he is writing. Just as Kovalevskaja was close to her much older advisor, Rakel and Jakob are drawn to each other and eventually become lovers, although he is already married.
In the years to come, Rakel's academic career soars, but her health declines, and from her bedside she spends hours imagining Sofja’s life while trying to understand her own. With a gaze both naive and mercilessly sharp, she examines what may be her life's only love story, looking for patterns and answers in numbers, music, and literature.
Extraordinarily wise and penetrating, Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine explores the intricacies of the human heart, the complicated equation that is love, and the search to find meaning and connections when you need them most.
Translated from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough
Klara Hveberg was born in 1974 and grew up in Molde, Norway. Initially planning to study music and literature, she ended up obtaining a PhD in mathematics, writing her thesis on fractal geometry. Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine is her first novel.
"Hveberg’s rich, philosophical debut runs on ruminations about love, loss, and loneliness with two love stories, each involving a math professor and a brilliant student....Hveberg gives proof to a provocative equation for elegant fiction." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A novel of interior spaces that plumbs the depths of loneliness in order to find within it the origins of love." — Kirkus Reviews
"[A] stunning debut novel about unrequited love, longing, obsession, betrayal, and more. Complex and alluring, it is framed by the author’s—and the protagonist’s—expertise in mathematics, as well as by music and literature." — Elayne Clift, New York Journal of Books
“A mathemagical debut. This incredibly strong novel makes music out of mathematics and turns life into poetry. Bravo!” — Dagsavisen
"A mature debut where the author juggles mathematics, art and passion in a love story full of both humor and deep despair. The result is one of the most complex and interesting protagonists I have encountered." — Vårt Land
"A brilliant debut about the many aspects of love, and of the search for beauty in life." — Adresseavisen