The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

The Tenth Muse

Catherine Chung

Is it a fallacy for a woman to think she must choose between her personal life and her ambition? In a complex, multi-stranded story, Katherine, a talented mathematician, is faced with such a choice. Whilst the mathematical concepts were completely over my head, themes of identity, gender, history and love meant there was much to keep me turning the pages. Surprisingly, piqued my interest in a subject which has always left me baffled.


A mathematical proof is absolute once it has been written and verified: if the internal logic of a proof holds, it is considered unassailable and true. The underlying structure of my family was something I'd never questioned. It had formed the foundation of my life. When it suddenly dissolved, I was unmoored. It had never occurred to me to question my mother's love for me, or our relationship to each other. I had believed these things were absolute.

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