Leaning Towards Infinity
"This is not my story. It is the story of Frances Montrose, an Australian woman with no formal mathematics training who carried across the world, in a borrowed suitcase bulging with a friend's balldresses, something no one knew about. The discovery of a new number.
"I can barely add up so I can't tell you much about her mathematics. Only to say she was a genius. And she was my mother, my love, my emptiness. Her mathematics was her secret passion and her curse. And my curse too.
"Tremendously original and inventive" - Kate Grenville
"With this book, Sue Wolfe places herself amongst the finest of Australian writers...I would not be surprised if it became a cult book of great durability." - Thomas Keneally
I think it all began because of the shape of my mother's breasts. And it definitely began with something my mother wrote on the margin of a page stuck on the wall: Frege said that the straight line connecting any two points is already here before we draw it. Underneath it, she'd made two dots, pressing the nib of her fountain pen so hard the swelling scarlet ink stained the white paper. She always wrote in scarlet ink until she went mad.
And of course, there was the advertisement. Many things became linked because of it, in the way that you might be sitting in a cafe and suddenly a stranger stands at the door in an ordinary brown coat, but because of the fall of light on the brown coat you cry out, fragments from the past are linking and unwinding in you.
Or a man might walk across a room wrapped in a white towel, with windows behind him, nothing more momentous than windows, and mountains are behind the windows, only mountains, but their light is turning him emerald, turquoise, purple - so he moves inside a jewel, and tears start in your eyes.
From the Vintage paperback edition, 1996.
About the Author:
Sue Wolfe spent her childhood in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. She was educated at Sydney University and the University of New England. She made films, wrote textbooks and edited film subtitles.
Sue is the author of Painted Woman, the novel and play, and co-author with Kate Grenville of Making Stories: How Ten Australian Novels were Written. She has a daughter.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Larrikin Literature Page.
Last modified: September 17, 2001.