Mar 30, 2022
‘haunting and beautiful’
The Geometer Lobachevsky published today
'When I was sent by the Soviet state to London to further my studies in calculus, knowing I would never become a great mathematician, I strayed instead into the foothills of anthropology ...'
Published as a coedition between the Lilliput Press and Tuskar Rock Press, (an imprint of Profile Books), The Geometer Lobachevsky sees Adrian Duncan follows his interest in internationality and materiality, leading to unforeseeable connections between people and places.
It is 1950 and Nikolai Lobachevsky, great-grandson of his illustrious namesake, is surveying a bog in the Irish Midlands, where he studies the locals, the land and their ways. One afternoon, soon after he arrives, he receives a telegram calling him back to Leningrad for a 'special appointment'.
Lobachevsky may not be a great genius but he is not foolish: he recognises a death sentence when he sees one and leaves to go into hiding on a small island in the Shannon estuary, where the island families harvest seaweed and struggle to split rocks. Here Lobachevsky must think about death, how to avoid it and whether he will ever see his home again
Praise for The Geometer Lobachevsky
“Many have seen the tendency among Irish writers, from Joyce and Beckett up to Eimear McBride, towards experimentation as originating in this sense of foundational linguistic dispossession. With this novel, Duncan proves himself to be one of the most subtle explorers of this condition writing today. Lobachevsky’s fate reveals the universal failure of the stories we want to believe to map onto the world in which we are condemned to live”.
Kevin Brazil, Literary Review
‘Adrian Duncan writes with emotional accuracy and what seems like effortless precision about work and exile, about buildings and cities. To his narratives, he brings a mixture of the exact and the visionary. He is a writer who has come to recreate the world on his own terms.’
Colm Tóibín, author of The Magician and Laureate for Irish Fiction
‘Adrian Duncan is that rare thing, a writer with an original vision and with a visionary prose style to match. The Geometer Lobachevsky will haunt you, move you, and persuade you that you are in the presence of a real artist’
Kevin Power, author of White City and Bad Day in Blackrock
‘Adrian Duncan has a sensibility and a course of investigation utterly his own, and The Geometer Lobachevsky is his best novel yet: a darkly ruminative tale of exile and endeavour, under whose surface move the tectonic plates of the twentieth century.’
Rob Doyle, author of Autobibliography and Threshold
“Of course, if you’re as good a writer as Duncan, part of the [publishing] industry may come to reshape itself around you. Long may he continue to write about his obsessions”
‘A haunting and beautiful novel that revisions the natural world and our attempts to control it through the eyes of a fugitive Soviet mathematician. By turns comic and tragic, and enthralling in its imaginative reach, Duncan’s layered narrative offers riches on every page’
Jo Lloyd, author of The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies and winner of the BBC Short Story Prize
‘One of the most important, original, and intriguing writers working now. This book is starkly moving, beautiful, sensual, and the way he writes landscape is so phenomenologically precise it makes every writer I know wish they could write like him.’
Niamh Campbell, author of We Were Young and This Happy
‘In crackling prose that is somehow precise, mathematical, and exuberant all at once, Duncan captures the poetry of mapmaking and the richness of small lives. This ode to infrastructure is a luminous achievement.’
Cóilín Parsons, author of The Ordnance Survey and Modern Irish Literature