“I came last year to New York,” he says, “but this is the first time I will be presenting the book to several different American cities. The schedule is a little scary.”
The book is “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” Giordano’s first literary work which has thrust him into the Italian and international spotlight in 2008. The 28-year-old author will be presenting the book’s paperback edition at the Brookline Booksmith on April 5.
“The book’s immediate success has had a great impact on me,” he says. “I don’t think I was ready for such notoriety. For two years I endured it more than I enjoyed it. Now I’m finally able to manage it.”
First published in January 2008, the book’s sales immediately sent it to the top of the Italy’s bestselling charts. Several months later it received the country’s most prestigious literary award, the Premio Strega. Translations were quickly made, and today “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” is sold in almost 40 languages.
A movie based on the book and directed by Saverio Costanzo was made in 2010, featuring famous Italian actors such as Isabella Rossellini. “I made sure I would have a say in writing the script,” says Giordano. “It was quite liberating to see my work being dealt with by others, to see in what different ways it could be processed. I was starting to feel a little caged by it, so I wanted the movie to be different, and I believe it is.”
“The Solitude” is the story of two adolescents, both living with a haunting episode of their past. Alice is pretty and intelligent, but has a severe limp caused by a skiing accident she had had years before. She didn’t want to ski, but her oppressive father pressed for her to be an extraordinary athlete. Matteo is a mathematical genius who sees the world through numbers, but who lives with a feeling of guilt planted within him. On his way to a party with his mentally disabled twin sister, he decides to leave her waiting in a park while he goes to the party alone, but she disappears and is never found again.
The deep friendship the two develop is permeated by the complications of adolescence, but their troubled and complicated pasts bring them close, but never together. They are like primary numbers, Matteo explains. 11 and 13, 41 and 43. Numbers that can be divided only by one or by themselves. Unique, beautiful, but solitary, without a chance of intersecting with others.
Now Giordano is starting to set his eyes (and fingers) on his second novel. “I’ve been working on it for a few months now. In the first book one probably tends to throw in all that is inside. With this second one I feel like I’ve matured. I’m more careful when it comes to constructing a novel. I keep track of the overall balance, dosing the emotional content. It’s a more professional approach. If we were to look for total spontaneity, no one would write books.”