Enjoy this title right now, plus millions more, with a free trial

Free for 30 days, then $9.99/month. Cancel anytime.

The Tenth Muse: A Novel

The Tenth Muse: A Novel

Written by Catherine Chung

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell


The Tenth Muse: A Novel

Written by Catherine Chung

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

ratings:
4.5/5 (33 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 18, 2019
ISBN:
9780062917690
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

The first thing I remember being said of me with any consistency was that I was intelligent — and I recognized even then that it was a comment leveled at me with as much disapproval as admiration. Still, I never tried to hide or suppress my mind as some girls do, and thank God, because that would have been the beginning of the end.

From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems — who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition?

On her quest to conquer the Riemann hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the 20th century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her — their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations.

In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 18, 2019
ISBN:
9780062917690
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Catherine Chung won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, and has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Granta New Voice, and a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has a degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before receiving her MFA from Cornell University. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.


Related to The Tenth Muse

Related Audiobooks


Reviews

What people think about The Tenth Muse

4.3
33 ratings / 10 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    The Greek reference of the tenth muse led me to this novel. It has very little to do with Greek mythology, but that link to the muse that was an independent woman was a smart and interesting idea. This novel has quite a bit going on. The main character has family issues, work issues (female math student), and love issues. It seemed in the middle there was no where for the story to go, but surprises are around every corner. The protagonists is smart and strong, but also flawed. She makes decisions that change her destiny - some good and some bad.
  • (5/5)
    Analytical and insightful. Well done work with ethics, mathematics, and humanity
  • (5/5)
    Great story! Lots of twist and turns. Mysteries and heartbreaks.
  • (3/5)
    Slow moving. Hard to switch between characters. I don’t recommend
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book and the way in which Catherine Chung weaves a story about a female mathematician who has a gift for numbers and pursues almost singlehandedly her career in them. The arch of the character is reasonable, well thought out, and pretty close to what I would consider historical writing. The equations and stories or math problems that she uses all well-researched and based in that field of study, plus it is just fun to listen to.
  • (5/5)
    This was a flawless book: perfect writing, interesting and unexpected plot, a great female character, a hunt for own roots and identity ( going back to the WWII), a great title, memorable supporting characters, a little bit of science, a little bit of coming of age, some thriller and mystery...This is an intelligently written and well-crafted story that I can't recommend enough.

    I have never read Catherine Chung before, but she is definitely a writer to follow.
  • (4/5)
    There was so much math-ease that I feel like it made it difficult for me to grasp the gravity of some of the story. For a romantic mathematician, I am sure this might be a 5-star book. The storyline, over all, kept me going.
  • (5/5)
    The novel is an excellent exploration of gender issues in academics. The story is complex and engaging. The novel contains a lot about mathematics and how mathematicians work. Most of the characters are recognizable as humans, especially the protagonist.
  • (3/5)
    The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung, author; Cassanda Campbell, narratorThis book is a fairly good representation of the books today that are being presented as literature when really they are treatises on liberal policies. Authors are chosen because of diversity and books are chosen for the progressive issues they put forth and support. American readers are slowly being brainwashed, I fear, to believe that everyone is oppressed for one reason or another.In this book, a woman likens herself to the Tenth Muse of Greek Mythology. There were thought to be only nine, but the Tenth Muse disappeared from history because she did not want to be the inspiration for man, but rather wanted to be herself, her own inspiration, her own successful individual. She left her world to join the real world, and in every generation, there is a woman just like her, achieving and fighting for her rightful place.In this book, Katherine, similarly named to the author although with a different first letter, is also of similar descent. Katherine is biracial. Her mother was Chinese, she believes. However, that myth is put to rest at the end of the book. Of course she is not only brilliant, she is magnificent looking and admired as she passes, although she believes she is being ogled and ridiculed, most often, for her different appearance and heritage.This is not a man’s book. It is definitely geared to women who feel that life has cheated them in some way, that men have cheated them in some way.The most interesting parts of the book are the pieces of history, the development of math theories (although many were way over my head like the Reimann hypothesis and the Hilbert’s eighth problem, the ferry riddle intrigued me), the Greek history of famous women like Hypatia whom I had never heard of, although her story ended badly, beaten to a pulp by an angry Christian mob. This fits in perfectly with today’s liberal effort to downplay religious fervor. The coverage of the Holocaust was used once again to show the positive side of women, the bravery of women, and other challenging moments illustrating the lack of women’s rights because of abusive males. For the most part, however, this novel felt contrived to me. All the women who were exceptional were either “genderless” in the way they behaved and dressed or absolutely the top of the class and could pass for models. The novel did not feel as if it was representing the need for equality, but rather it was representing the need for superiority because women were, in most cases the brightest bulbs in the box presented. The men were weak and dishonest. The men used the women to get ahead at the expense of the women they pretended to inspire, love or appreciate.Are the superlative reviews due to what seems like a progressive agenda expressed on every page? Katherine was not likable. She was arrogant and filled with an unjustified hubris. She did not seem to understand the meaning of humility and constantly expected to be praised and to be the smartest one in the class or lecture or whatever venue in which she appeared. Although she complained about lack of rights, she rose to the top without much effort. Life seemed to smile upon her. She seemed to take her own rude and cruel behavior very lightly while she slammed others for theirs. She was also portrayed as this naïve young girl, when someone who was so bright and so immersed in education could not have logically been that ignorant to the ways of the world around her. The reader is expected to sympathize with her plight because she is a woman and comes from a family of immigrants and she is of a different race.Throughout the book, Katherine lamented her place in the world. She suffered. Men had it all. She showed no gratitude for any gifts that came her way, seemed unable to truly care about anyone above her own needs. At the very end, she seemed to begin to understand the definition of humility but for me, it came too late. She got where she did because of the good graces of many people, and fair or unfair, she showed no appreciation for her good fortune and did not seem to help others to achieve the same goal. She always blamed others for her own behavior and naivete. Yet we are supposed to believe she is very innocent as she sleeps with her advisors and professors who, of course, take advantage of her purity. In the end, she even wants to put her own needs before her best friend’s needs and loses her friendship too. She feels safer in Germany, in spite of what they did, than she did in America. This fits right in with the current progressive view that America is not on the side of good, but rather is evil.The book covers racial discord, civil rights, anti-semitism immigration issues, homosexuality, gender issues, (even her female best friend has a name representing our modern definitions of sexual identity, she calls herself Henry which is not a feminine name),The novel seems to pit the myth of Guan Yin vs the myth of The Tenth Muse. The Buddhist is selfless and genderless, wishes to serve others, a symbol of emptiness filled with compassion, and the unknown Greek Muse is self interested and independent, definitely female and definitely demanding her rightful place in the universe. The reader will have to decide which side of the coin they prefer or perhaps they will see that one way alone, is not the right way. There has to be some sort of compromise for fulfillment in life.Perhaps my negative feelings about the book arose from the narrator’s reading which emphasized certain attributes of the character in ways I found disturbing. Still, rather than a literary endeavor, I thought the book descended into a romantic novel which fit into the category of Chick Lit. The story revolved around Katherine’s love life and feelings about men.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I couldn’t stop listening, the story is compelling, beautifully written and the narrator does a very good job.
    It caught my full attention and interest from the first sentence and kept me hooked all the way through.
    The characters are all well developed, they have depth and their choices are understandable.
    Also the novel has all the big topics -love, hate, betrayal, sexism and of course math- without becoming cheesy, weird or nerdy at any point.
    Some of the plot is predictable, but not in a disturbing way.
    I really loved the stories within the story and there are plenty of them to enjoy

    1 person found this helpful