Book review: The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict

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  • Name:  The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
  • Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
  • Publication date:  Oct. 18 2016
  • Pages: 304
  • Genre:  Historical fiction / literary fiction

DESCRIPTION:

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

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1280105About the author:  Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law.

While practicing as a lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women — and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein’s first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   goodreads

REVIEW:

This book recounts the fictional life of the real historical figure of Mitza Maric. Her story begins as a young gifted girl who is expected to stay at home and never marry.  Born with a limp but a brilliant mind, she travels from Zagreb, Croatia to Zurich to be the only female physics student at the Swiss Polytechnic.  Her gift in the field of mathematics and her grasp of physics attracts the attention of young Albert Einstein, a fellow student. After several years of persistent courtship,  she falls in love with him and they eventually marry.

At first all is well as they partner several projects together.  Mitza’s strength in mathematics and abstract thinking give her an edge.  As partners, she expects equal recognition on the papers they submit.  In this fictional account, Albert claims the ideas are his alone and this infuriates Mitza.  As their personal life spirals out of control, we see her frustration and malcontent as she puts her ambitions to be a physicist aside to raise their children.

The author’s description of the way educated women were viewed at the time was quite revealing. This book was a fairly light read, and did not really expound on themes of a scientific nature as much as I thought it would. Despite the the artistic license the author took to fictionalize this character and the possible inaccuracies regarding the life of Albert Einstein, I did enjoy reading this account.

 

 

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