The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec: A Story of Boundless Love and Suffering

My review for my favorite fiction title of 2014.


The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec, translated by Willard Wood
Reviewed by Jan

The Goddess of Small Victories, a debut novel by French novelist Yannick Grannec, fictionalizes the career of brilliant real-life mathematician, logician, and philosopher, Kurt Gödel. Gödel made an immense impact in philosophical and mathematical thinking of the 20th century, through his two incompleteness theorems and the clarifications of the connections between classical logic, intuitional logic, and modal logic. But rather than focus on the dense task of explaining his life’s work, Grannec shifts the spotlight of Gödel’s life to that of his wife, Adele, a woman we know very little about.

The narrative of this book follows Adele and another woman: Anna Roth, assistant archivist at Princeton University, trying to collect Gödel’s papers from Adele years after Gödel’s death. To say that Adele, housed in a nursing home, is reluctant to give up the…

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