Absolute Truth, For Beginners is the newly released novel by Katarina West. I was so excited to receive an advanced reader copy back in October, which I started to read whilst we were on holiday in France. If you read my blog regularly, you will know that life since then has been a little turbulent for me, but I must say that Absolute Truth, For Beginners, never failed to absorb me every time I sat down to read it. A sign of a great novel for me is when you want to find out the ending, and also want it to never end, so you can stay with the character forever. That’s how I felt about Elisa Mancini.
Elisa Mancini is a Nobody. Painfully insecure, more at ease with books than with people, at twenty-three she’s a university dropout living at her aunt’s, drifting from one day to another, and waiting for something big to happen.
Judith Shapiro is a Somebody. Arrogant and eccentric, she’s a superstar of mathematics, the subject of scientific articles, and the undisputed ruler of the world around her.
In a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, Elisa falls madly in love with Judith Shapiro. For sixty-eight days she is the mistress of an internationally acclaimed mathematician.
But loving Judith Shapiro is like running a marathon in a war zone. As days pass, Elisa’s wild infatuation takes on a suicidal bent, and the world around her starts to go to pieces. Just as everything is about to blow up, the moment of truth comes.
Absolute Truth, For Beginners is a story about truth, time and love. Or about identity, positive nursing, degrees of happiness, Baroque art, scientific theories, lovemaking, arrogant television producers, and becoming who you really are.
Elisa’s character is wonderfully written, she is the young Art History graduate who is hired to work at a mathematics institution, feeling like her life has really begun. She describes herself as a ‘nobody’, but as the book goes on you really warm to her, because despite her tumultuous love affair with the great mathematician Judith Shapiro she shows so much strength that she doesn’t realise she has, with an injection of humour in places too.
Standing there I become anxious, because I know that this is an important moment, a memory I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life. But I don’t feel ready to live it. I’m afraid I will say or feel something wrong. And I know that while I keep worrying about living, life itself is passing by. So either I take life the way it is, or it will always be too late.
Katarina West also describes perfectly the turmoil of being in such an unbalanced relationship, when you are head over heels in love, and imagine the relationship to be what it not, and what it never will be. When the painful ending is inevitable but you’re addicted to your unrealistic dreams.
My voice is so pathetic that I could hit myself. But that doesn’t make me stop. Quite the contrary, the realisation that I am humiliating myself makes me feel oddly relieved. Because, now that first step has been taken I’m free to humiliate myself even further
I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, so I shall stop there, but I really recommend that you read the book for yourself, it’s a great read.
Absolute Truth, For Beginners will be released on December 15th, but is available now from Amazon on Kindle for an introductory price of only 99p. Katarina West is also giving away 10 copies of her e-book, which you can enter for below…
Also, come back and visit me next Friday, when I will be posting a fantastic guest blog written especially for The Sparkle Nest by Katarina West, on her thoughts on motherhood and creativity.
Last Friday I talked about Absolute Truth, For Beginners, the new novel by Katarina West…