Dinner Parties, Math Geniuses and Family

October 15, 2014 Book Review 7

Dinner Parties, Math Geniuses and FamilyThe Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec
Published by Other Press on October 14th, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Translated Works
Pages: 464
Source: complimentary review copy


This post was inspired by The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec, a novel about brilliant mathematician Kurt Gödel as told from his ex-cabaret dancer wife’s perspective. Join From Left to Write on October 16th as we discuss The Goddess of Small Victories. As a member, I received a copy of the book for discussion purposes.


KURT and adele Godel

Kurt Gödel and his wife, Adele. Photograph by Oskar Morgenstern, courtesy of the Archives of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Where are they? Did you tell them six o’clock?
They had to bring Russell to the station first. 
I’m wondering when I should put the soufflé in the oven.
You should have planned a simpler menu. 
Albert Einstein is coming to dinner!  Of course I’m going the whole nine yards! (p.188)

Ah can you imagine preparing dinner for Albert Einstein?!?  I believe I would be a bit intimidated by the prospect! The Goddess of Small Victories is based on the real-life events of renowned Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel and his older, ex-caberet dancer, wife, Adele Gödel.  Reading Adele’s experience with making a meal for Einstein got me to thinking about who would have me giddy with excitement as a dinner guest.

I didn’t have to think long!  Long-time readers of my blog can probably even guess my famous mystery guests!  Madeleine L’Engle and her beloved cross-over character, Canon John Tallis.

In so many of L’Engle’s books, both for children and those for adults, the families are always throwing open their doors for dinner guests.  Even in L’Engle’s Crosswick Journals {her own memoirs} she shares the dinner parties enjoyed by her family, neighbors, friends ~ all with the goal of stimulating conversation and nurturing sustenance.

To round out my dream dinner party, I would definitely want my children, their significant others and my mother to be in attendance as well.  I can very well recall trips to the library in 7th and 8th grade in search of another L’Engle novel – I would gobble it up in a sitting and hand it off to my mom who in turn would read the novel just as obsessively.  Thinking back on it now, the same thing happened with the Harry Potter novels and my youngest daughter – we would actually argue over who would get to read the book first!

It is not so much her books that I would want the dinner discussion to center around ~ more L’Engle’s philosophy on God, family, good and evil.  Discovering what Canon Tallis and Madeleine L’Engle believe to be the state of the world, especially the Middle East crisis, would be so fascinating and insightful.  After reading one of her books I always feel as though I’ve sat with a treasured friend and discovered more about myself than ever expected.  I imagine a dinner date with Madeleine L’Engle and her fictional character Canon John Tallis would leave me blessed beyond compare.

Please share in the comments ~ Who would YOU have as a dream dinner date/dinner party?


7 Responses to “Dinner Parties, Math Geniuses and Family”

  1. Alicia S

    Your post and mine are almost identical up to choosing the same excerpt from the book! How hilarious! Who we would have dinner with is different though. Isn’t it great to think about who we would have a dream dinner with? From reading the book I do think Einstein would have been a great dinner companion!
    Alicia S recently posted…Potato Soup Fakeout – Low Carb Cauliflower SoupMy Profile

    • Stacy (The Novel Life)

      Yes, Einstein seems like such a character! Probably not too many dull moments with him around! And I so very much appreciated the ideas thrown around on the email chain mentioning the idea of who we’d invite for dinner ~ I was kind of at a loss as to what to write even though there were so many topics to choose from. Each one seemed as though I would have to delve really deep into personal waters that I wasn’t quite prepared to go ~ this one worked out great!
      Stacy (The Novel Life) recently posted…Dinner Parties, Math Geniuses and FamilyMy Profile

  2. Aloi (guiltlessreading)

    This sounds like an enjoyable read! I probably would just gawk and hang on to every word that Einstein utters and make a total fool of myself. Got this on the TBR — thanks for writing about it!

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