In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. This is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.
Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.
Rating: liked it
It's always a dilemma for me to rate books about the woman behind the famous man and I usually wonder just how much influence they have and this was no exception. Even though this a fictionalized account, I have have questions about how much is real, how much is imagined more so than in other novels of this kind. What I know about Einstein can be summed up easily. He was a brilliant scientist, famous for E=mcsquared equation , the theory of relativity and by all pictures I've seen, he had unruly hair. I knew absolutely nothing about his personal life so I knew nothing about his first wife Mileva Maric who was a brilliant scientist in her own right . I went in really with no preconceived notions about who he was as a man and certainly none about Mileva.
Over the years it appears that there have been questions raised over whether Mileva contributed to Einstein's work, without getting credit. The claims are considered unsubstantiated by accounts, but the premise of this story is that it is true, making Albert Einstein a less than appealing person, actually pretty cold and calculating. Mileva is treated miserably, having to go off and have their child on her own ; deal with the child's death by herself and robbed of recognition for scientific publications and of the Nobel prize. All of this may be true but it might not be .
The author outlines her research which appears to be fairly extensive but yet she says "Similarly, the precise nature of Mileva's contribution to the 1905 theories attributed to Albert is unknown, although no one disputes that, at a minimum, she played the significant part of emotional and intellectual supporter during this critical time. But given how Mileva saw the world and how desperately she must have loved her daughter, isn't it possible that the loss of Lieserl could have inspired Mileva's to create the theory of special relativity? Answering through fiction the seemingly unanswerable questions in Mileva's life - exploring the 'what ifs' - is what makes writing The Other Einstein so interesting to me ." Also, it is not substantiated that the child died but may have been given up for adoption.
I mostly read fiction and have no problems accepting stories as they are presented but when doubts are expressed in the author's note about the validity of the premise , I had a hard time with it. I will say that it is interesting from the perspective of how difficult it was for women in universities and especially in the sciences in the late 19th century. This has gotten rave reviews so this is very possibly just me . I may have to think twice before I read another novel of this type. Three stars for the early chapters where we see Mileva's brilliance and determination, her touching relationship with her father , and also for the depiction of the time and a glimpse into the sometimes difficult road of scientific discovery.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for this advance copy.
Rating: it was ok
I really wanted to like this book.
Perhaps it is just me, but I think I hold writers of historical fiction to a different standard than other fiction writers. If a historical fiction writer is creating a story about real people (as opposed to creating fictionalized characters set during a specific era or historic event), then I expect that the big details about that real person's life will be correct. Otherwise, readers can come away with a view of history that is entirely incorrect. (This is one of the reasons I don't care for Philippa Gregory's work)
Benedict's novel carries a story line that isn't consistent with historical research (Her author's note is built on ideas like "maybe," "perhaps," and "we don't know.") Were the allegations true, it would be a whopper. A much more interesting book would have been to follow the true story of Mileva's life -- a brilliant scientist in her own right (the only female studying at the Zurich Polytechnic at the time Einstein was getting his degree) who had to give up her scientific ambitions when she became a mother.
Aside from my issues with the book's misrepresentation of the truth (yes! I do know this is fiction) the book was a bit of a slog to read. Far too much time was spent on Albert & Mileva's courtship, before getting to any interest or tension in the book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: liked it
Mitza Maric has dreams of being more than a wife, a brilliant physics student she plans to pursue a degree in 1896 and is the only female in her classes. Mitza is also disabled and has never expected any man to ever be interested in her and want to marry her. When she meets Albert Einstein though things begin to change and she rethinks the life she has pictured for herself, ending up caught between her ambition and love.
The book was well written and I did like Mitza, and I know we've all had the representation talk before but really it is cool knowing about women scientists and especially one with a disability. I had never heard of her before though it's not a surprise when her own career became side railed to Einstein's, but I actually don't know much about the time period when women first started being admitted into colleges and being able to contribute in academia, so it was interesting. I did find the book to be really slow though and I got bored through out it again and again. I guess it's mostly because the life of university students isn't all that interesting and like her going back and forth between school and trying to keep her friends and manage her love life wasn't something unusual or fun to read about.
I also am not sure about the historical accuracy of the book though the author said she researched it well and it is fiction. Even though it is fiction I don't think the scene where (view spoiler)[ Mitza comes up with relativity (hide spoiler)] was done well at all. I didn't buy it at all. I don't see how death could cause anyone to make a connection like that about time, and the explanation seemed a little iffy. Maybe if we saw more of Mitza sitting around thinking about physics theoretically I would've bought the idea that she came up with it and Einstein stole the idea or I guess took credit or whatever but nah it didn't work for me the way it was done in the book I don't buy it. I can buy Einstein's behaving like a dick though because I always felt like he was kind of a dick.
An okay book about someone who maybe could have achieved something if it hadn't been for a man, typical, but nothing spectacular. Mostly because I'd rather not read fictional accounts about what women may have contributed to their husband's works, I wish we could get more nonfiction books about women whose contributions we know about and yeah I could've done without reading this but I'm not like upset I read it, kind of just indifferent to the whole experience.
Rating: really liked it
Mileva Maric was the only female student studying physics at a prestigious university in Zurich in 1896. It is here that she met a young student in her class named Albert Einstein. Albert takes an interest in her, and a romantic relationship evolves between them. This book details how their relationship changes over time
Written in the voice of Mileva, this historical novel is about the difficulties she encountered while married to Einstein. What starts as a young exciting relationship turns into an abusive neglectful one. Mileva sacrificed her own career dreams by catering to the needs of her husband and family. The book delves into how Mileva eventually felt she was living in Einstein’s shadow. It has been speculated that she contributed to the theory of relativity but her named was omitted by Einstein.
This is an interesting story of love, loss and science. Readers are spoonfed real history about Einstein while watching this drama unfold. I came away with a better appreciation for the contribution from both of these individuals.
Einstein is known as a genius, but as the saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman.
I am giving away 2 copies on my blog until 11/12
$1.99 on kindle and digital platforms 2/9 https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved...
Rating: it was ok
I can't get through it. I'm bored. Also, I find it strange when a first-person narration gets all flowery in descriptions because I find it hard to believe that people talk that way in their heads. When I am thinking about the weather outside, I never have thoughts like, "It was dark and stormy with broody clouds and a malevolent fog." I'm more likely to think, "F-ing weather! You suck!" Okay, so I admit I'm not the most quixotic of thinkers. (Word of the day challenge: check!)
I would have hanged myself if I continued reading. BAM!! On fleek with the grammar today, baby!
We've been watching the series, Genius, about Einstein and I know that they tried to be as historically accurate as possible when making it. What I have learned is that he wasn't some lovable nutty professor who was a genius, like we all thought. He was a bad husband, selfish man, horrible father, and philandering jerk who also was a genius. So, I guess that reading this book was probably a bad idea to begin with.
Rating: it was ok
(This review can also be found at: http://theslattern.com/2017/02/17/the...)
"What did Watson and Crick discover?
...Rosalind Franklin’s notes"
HAR HAR. While that might not be 100% true, the history of science is littered with brilliant women whose pioneering contributions were ignored, diminished or plagiarised due to sexism. So this fictionalised biography of Mileva Maric, the physicist wife of Albert Einstein who has been rumoured to have contributed towards his theories on relativity, is timely.
Unfortunately, this book didn’t really do it for me. The first 60% is based around Einstein’s courtship of Maric while they are both physics students at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich. Maric is focused on her studies and doesn’t want to be waylaid by romance. But Einstein is doggedly determined. I found the first half of this book really dull. I wasn’t sure what the conflict was meant to be - the book is called The Other Einstein, we know that they eventually get married, why devote so many pages to detailing the minutiae of a courtship when the title tells you how it ends? The pace picked up considerably in the second half, but I still think the first bit could have been significantly edited down.
The writing was inelegant and clunky throughout. Some of the sentences were badly constructed and I also thought the dialogue was self-consciously formal and ‘old fashioned’. There were also some jarring errors which would make anyone vaguely scientifically minded wince, eg, steam (from the chimney of a steam train) being described interchangeably as ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’ in the same paragraph.
But my main qualm about this book is that the science is totally skimmed over. I thought it was meant to be about a brilliant scientific mind who was lost in her husband’s shadow, and yet I got the sense that the author didn’t have the confidence to actually write about science. There are ways of writing about science in fiction in an inspiring, even beautiful, way; but there was none of that here. There are parts in which Einstein and Maric work feverishly on projects and theories together - and yet the actual concepts they’re working on aren’t even mentioned. The author might as well have written ‘and they did some science’. Not only did this make the book feel a bit flimsy, but I also think it denigrated Maric. What should have been a book about a bright female physicist who (allegedly) contributed to one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century, actually became a book about a woman who made some silly life choices and ended up unhappily married and intellectually stymied. The author’s unwillingness or inability to delve into the science Maric (supposedly) worked on actually detracts from the image of her as a brilliant scientist.
Finally, I think the author got a bit drunk on artistic license. Einstein is painted as an absolute bastard and Maric is painted as a complete genius who made MASSIVE contributions to ALL of his theories. In real life, the consensus is that the contributions she made were quite limited, although there are still those that believe her to have done a lot of the maths in the seminal papers published under Einstein’s name. I know it’s a fictionalised account and the author has a right to speculate on what *could* have happened, but I think she goes a bit too far. Einstein comes off extremely badly and I was shocked by the scene in which (view spoiler)[ he hits her (hide spoiler)], which I think was just gratuitous and doesn’t seem to be based on any historical facts. I feel like people will read this and think it's a factual expose, whereas it’s mostly wild speculation and likely to be highly inaccurate. And that, to me, feels a bit unfair. There are stories out there of women who truly did make massive contributions to science and were ignored (see links in first paragraph) and who deserve to be properly memorialised. I'm not sure that this sensationalised book really helps promote that cause.
(With thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review)
Rating: really liked it
I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Marie Benedict, and the publishers, Sourcebooks Landmark, for this opportunity.
This is the fictional account of the life of an actual historical figure. Mileva “Mitza” Marić, in 1896, was the only female studying physics at Zürich university and one of the first females to study science at university level in all of Europe. She left home for more liberal Switzerland to achieve said studies and became a scientific genius in her own right. And yet, her renown today is considerably less than her physicist husband, Albert Einstein. There is much debate over the degree of Albert's famed Theory of Relativity that was, in fact, his wife's own work. This explores not only scientific and marital conflict, but the trials of being a ground-breaking and intelligent women living in a conservative and bourgeois time-period.
This novel used Mileva as a spokesperson for a generation of budding intellectual women, who are realizing their independence for the first time, and yet are still largely relegated to the home sphere. They were built for so much more and it is empowering to read, today, how much their fight for equality and their continuation in the face of adversity has impacted our contemporary freedom. If not for women, such as Mileva, our lives today could be quite different. On behalf of women everywhere, who have ever received such treatment, this pained me to read about.
This not only concerned the re-imagining of the life of this brilliant women, but was a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric account of nineteenth century Europe. This was a slow-paced novel with in-depth character studies and attention to minute historical and geographical details. It touched on a multitude of societal and cultural customs without seeming to betray or wander too far from the story and it's absolute brilliance lay in the vivid envisioning and conceptualizing of both a time period and an entire generation of people.
This tells such an important story in such a graceful, expressive and reminiscent way that it is hard not to get sucked into the story of the life of the great Mileva Einstein.
Rating: did not like it
I didn't like this book at all. I hate books that have potentially interesting stories to tell and then just wreck them. It could have been quite edifying as Mileva Maric was Albert Einstein's first wife and a noted scientist in her own right. She was the only female student at an elite university in Zurich in 1896. She lives in a pension with other bright female students. It must have been exciting to be on your own for the first time and discovering there are other people like yourself who like to learn.
So we discover any of this? No. The four females are jealous of each other when one of them dates. Are there wonderful conversations between Einstein and Maric? There were but there were so many more talks where he thinks up pet names like Dollie, ragamuffin, beloved sorceress, little escapee. Gag me with a stick. This is nothing more than a glorified romance novel.
There are claims that Maric is responsible for some of Einstein's work. It fits into a new theory going around that women were responsible for everything. I think she had input into his work but she was certainly no Marie Curie. As the book goes along she becomes more and more subservient. I found this difficult to believe that a well educated woman would suddenly change to this degree. Also, she had a limp. I think the first 9000 times this was mentioned was sufficient for me to understand that she had a limp that she blamed everything in her life on. Put please quit hitting me over the head with it.
I have to admit my bias here. I had just finished a wonderful book that shook me, moved me and made me think. It was a historical fiction too but on such a different level that it was like comparing Charles Dickens to a children's book. But then I'd have to call it historical fiction instead of what it is, a badly written romance novel.
There are so many great books and so little time, why would you waste a second on this drivel?
Rating: it was amazing
I'm a teacher and every year we are given a free copy of a book. The purpose is to read the book and then display it in your classroom and encourage students to read it. This year The Other Einstein was the book I received and all my coworkers that participated LOVED this book, so we have decided to meet up before the next school year and have a book club meeting just to discuss this book.
This book was fantastic! I learned so much about Einstein's first wife and her brilliant mind. And all the barricades she had to go through during that time period because she was a women and had an unsupportive husband. I highly suggest this book to everyone!!
"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."
Rating: liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....
I feel like the only reader who wasn’t wholly enthralled by Marie Benedict’s The Other Einstein, but if I’m entirely honest, the novel didn’t draw in me as I’d hoped. I give Benedict a lot of credit for highlighting a lesser known individual, but the mechanics of the novel weren’t fully developed and the actual conflict came so late in the narrative that I’d all but given up hope of its delivery.
The relationship between Albert and Mileva takes center stage in the narrative, but I never felt it a true partnership. The whole thing felt distinctly one-sided and I often found myself frustrated with Mileva for allowing herself to be so marginalized for so little emotional and/or professional return. I couldn’t understand what Mileva saw in Albert which made Benedict’s emphasis of their union rather awkward. The issue was exacerbated further by Benedict’s interpretation of Albert. The famed scientist is difficult at best, but her portrayal is so far from his cultural legacy that it alienates those with any sort of appreciation for him.
Another thing I struggled with was the science behind the story. Both Albert and Mileva are supposed to have been brilliant, but Benedict shies away from the intricacies of their studies and profession. The unfortunate reality is that interest in the novel is vested in the couples’ command of physics, but I didn’t feel that Benedict effectively related those principles to her audience within the context of the narrative. Her characterizations did not carry convincing authority and that fact made their movements difficult to appreciate and credit.
Finally, I had trouble with Benedict’s themes. The injustices Mileva faced are extraordinary, but Benedict’s presentation is nothing short of suffocating. Mileva is the innocent victim of social prejudices, sexism, and an abusive husband. Each illustration punctuates her suffering, but the episodes occur with such frequency that I became numb to them and I don’t think that spoke to the author’s intention.
I feel Benedict’s story well-meant, but I would have liked to see a more coherent narrative structure, more complex character dynamics, more detailed scientific expositions, and less heavy-handed motifs. The Other Einstein is an ambitious story and one that is more than worth looking into, but Benedict’s effort struck me as rough around the edges and while I would recommend it, I’d caution my fellow readers to take the narrative with a grain of salt.
Rating: it was amazing
This was an engaging story about Mileva “Mitza” Marić, Albert Einstein’s first wife. Going into this, I knew nothing about Ms. Marić and very little about Mr. Einstein’s personal life.
It seems as though some of Albert Einstein’s work is surrounded in controversy. There is speculation that his first wife helped with his research, however the question is how much help was she? Some say she was simply supportive, others say she partnered with him or worked out the math for him, yet others propose that some of the work was actually hers. Was she a victim of the blatant sexism of the time?
It seems we may never know the truth behind how much of the research was completed by Mileva Marić, but this author took a very interesting view into the marriage and work of the couple. It was fascinating to be brought into the mind of a brilliant and driven woman living in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
It is important to note that this is a work of fiction and Albert Einstein is not presented as a brilliant scientist and loving husband and father. Quite the opposite. However, this is only one viewpoint and one author’s fictional representation of what may have been. It should in no way be taken as a biography and in my mind I thought of Albert Einstein as a fictional character while reading.
I was easily absorbed in this story and really enjoyed it for its entertainment value. I found the author’s writing style to be very engaging. I will be looking forward to more by Marie Benedict.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Excellent story! Albert Einstein is not seen in a positive light in this book at all. I was quite surprised by the story and unaware of this bit of history. It would be interesting to see how much of this story was accurate, as much of it was imagined by the author.
Full review to follow.
Rating: really liked it
Even before her marriage to Einstein, Mileva Maric was an interesting woman. For a woman in 1896 to attend a polytechnic institute was an anomaly. Benedict does a great job of setting time and place; of making you understand the prejudice.
However, this quickly falls more into a romance novel. Way too much about Mr. Einstein and her feelings about him. It is interesting to watch as her friends drift away despite their “pledge”.
The first part of the book also is very dry. Despite all the talk of love and longing, I had trouble feeling any emotion. Einstein comes across as a bit of an ass from the get go. Moody, self centered, even when they were students he expected her to do as he asked, even when it meant risking her reputation. Not until after their parenthood and marriage, did the book come alive for me. At that point, Einstein is more than a bit of an ass, he is a full out jerk. I will never think of him in the same light again.
As others have questioned, I have no idea how much of the premise of this book is true. Maric is painted as being smarter than Einstein. So how much of his work was a collaboration? Kudos to Benedict for making the scientific ideas easy to understand for us non-geniuses.
I am rating this book a 3.5. Three for the first half and 4 for the second.
My thanks to netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advance copy of this book.
Rating: it was amazing
A very engaging story about Albert Einstein's very smart and much dismissed wife and partner, Mileva Maric. I never heard of her and reading this story brought her to life. My ideas of Albert Einstein have changed as well. It's a read that had me looking on wiki/internet for more info and images. I love when a book causes me to do that.
Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: liked it
3.5 stars for this one. I enjoyed this book because i learned about an aspect of Albert Eninstein life that it is almost never portrayed. Up to this point i had read that Einstein was married at one point but never stopped to think about who he was married to during that time. It was also nice to see the story through the eyes of a woman written by a woman (i mistrust books that are told in a woman's point of view written by men or the other way around as well) . Nevertheless i felt that the author allowed herself too much of a creative license to basically alter the characters she was written about, Because she portrays Einstein in way that it is a bit damaging to his prestige if indeed this happened, but as the author says herself at the end of the book , it is all mostly made up. Recommend it if you are in search of light read, just keep in mind that this is a work of fiction.
Rating: it was ok
I seem to be on a run for disappointing reads right now. This book was offered as an Overdrive special read and I signed up thinking it must be quite good to make the cut. I’m afraid I over-estimated the criteria for selection.
This book seemed to have great wasted potential to me. I knew nothing of the first Mrs. Einstein, and having read this book I dare say I know nothing of her now. I got no sense that this novel was based on any known fact, and I do dislike books that purport to recount history when they are dealing with only supposition. Was she the person who first comprehended the theory of relativity? Did he steal it from her? Was Einstein as cold and perverse as some events in this book would make him seem? Did he feel love for this woman? For any woman? He obviously made love to her, but perhaps it was my inability to picture Albert Einstein as a lover that hampered this read early on for me. The amorous parts (which were mightily overdone with cooing) were almost humorous, the cruelty parts were over the top as well. Perhaps it was my total inability to relate to or care about either Albert or Mitza that finally made this read more frustrating than pleasing. Whatever the reason, I failed to appreciate this book.
One minor fact that did interest me. According to this author Einstein’s son Tete became mentally ill. I have always wondered how close the edge is between extreme brilliance and mental illness. It would be fascinating to know if it was in Tete’s genes.