Leah Greenblatt
February 26, 2016 AT 12:00 PM EST

A Doubter's Almanac: A Novel

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ethan Canin
publisher
Random House
genre
Novel

We gave it a B+

A beautiful mind is consumed by its ugliest impulses in Canin’s high-wire study of a brilliant mathematician whose personal life is the chaotic opposite of his clean, elegant proofs. A lonely boy in northern Michigan, Milo Andret is eventually recognized for his savant-like skills and funneled into the LSD-fueled bohemia of ’60s Berkeley and later Princeton, where he becomes a superstar in the insular world of academia. But even as he triumphs, alcohol and arrogance—and the slow creep of mental illness—begin to unravel him. Canin writes gorgeously about abstract concepts, but he makes it less easy to sympathize with the damage a man like Milo can do to the people unlucky enough to love him. B+

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