woensdag 4 januari 2017

The Other Einstein - Marie Benedict

Publisher: Sourcebook Landmark

Published: October 2016

ISBN: 9781492637257

A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.

What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.

In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.

A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.

My review
Off course I know of the famous Albert Einstein and his theory E=mc2. However, more than his wild hair and his tongue sticking out on the famous picture was not known. So I was real curious about the wife of Albert Einstein.
Marie Benedict did an outstanding job in describing the academic world in the eighteenth century. Generally speaking, women were not allowed to be educated and only the few talented ladies, such as Mileva, were able to study. I was mesmerized by the descriptions of Mileva's struggles to gain acceptance in class and from her professors. How hard it must have been for those few women to face all those challenges. And I really wanted to knock some sense in Mitza when she got pregnant from Albert before they were married. All that her father had fought for and how he tried to give her a better future than just a housewife just went down the drain.
And indeed, it went downhill from then for Mileva. Albert proved himself a selfish bastard, by taking off her name on the papers they had written together. So, Mileva never got the credit for her work on the relativity theory, which made Einstein famous. As Mileva gets degrated more and more as a simple hausfrau by Einstein, it really upset me. How could a briljant physicist like her let someone reduce her to a mere housekeeper? 

After reading this historical fiction, I found myself looking up facts about Albert Einstein and his first wife. Could it be that Marie Benedict was right? Was Albert the bastard she describes him to be? And did he really steal the work of Mileva as his own? Although there is not enough evidence to support the fact that Mileva really was the author of one or more papers of Albert, I think Marie has done an outstanding job in weaving the known facts about Albert's life (like the illegitimate daughter born before their marriage) with a story from Mileva's point of view. Even if she was a bit of the truth, I think it shows in a wonderful way how women had to work so hard to be recognized in history. 

Four out of five stars from me. With special thanks to Sourcebooks for the ARC.

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