A Doubter’s Almanac: A Novel
Milo Andret was always gifted. But his potential wasn’t realized until his acceptance to Berkeley, where his genius was consumed in a determined pursuit for a mathematical achievement worthy of a lifetime, much in the same way that the rest of his life became consumed by his alcoholism and ambition.
Ethan Canin takes us through the blessings and the burdens that come with the brilliant Andret mind, and its effects on Milo’s legacy. Spanning three generations of Andret family genes, this is a novel that is as resilient as the family whose story it tells.
Initially, the story I cared most about was Milo’s days as a student and later as a professor at Princeton. However, it turned out that what I loved more was the story of Milo’s family during his post-Princeton days. As the novel’s focus shifted from Milo to his son, the initial disappointment quickly switched to a new level of immersion. It was a bit slow moving as I got caught up in trying to understand the math. But A Doubter’s Almanac is not only about mathematics and staggering genius – it is also a powerful story about unrelenting support in a most dysfunctional family.