THE OTHER EINSTEIN

Marie Benedict

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. It 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.

Mileva 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.

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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. It 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.

Mileva 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 Mileva 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.

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  • Sourcebooks Landmark
  • Paperback
  • July 2017
  • 336 Pages
  • 9781492647584

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$15.99

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About Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in history and art history and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Author Website

Praise

“Superb…the haunting story of Einstein’s brilliant first wife who was lost in his shadow.”—Sue Monk Kidd, New York Times bestselling author of The Invention of Wings, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair

“Could the theory of relativity actually have been conceived by ‘the other Einstein’? In this fascinating and thoughtful novel, we learn that this is more than possible.”B.A. Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva’s heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men.”—Bustle

“Beautifully written…”Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Hours Count

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the various ways that gender affects the characters in this novel. Do you think gender would influence Mileva’s life in the same way if she lived today?

2. This novel can be seen as quest for understanding, a search for the divine in the natural order of the world. How does the study of math and physics become this quest for Albert and Mileva? Are they, either separately or together, successful in their crusade? Does unmuzzling life’s mysteries have disparate meanings to them?

3. Betrayal is a recurrent motif in the book and an unfortunate reality in Mileva’s life. What forms of betrayal does she experience? How does her reaction to those betrayals propel the story forward, for better or worse? Has Mileva engaged in betrayal herself?

4. Discuss the setting of the book, a world on the brink of astounding scientific discoveries, political upheaval, and ultimately horrible World War I atrocities. Does this historical setting affect the characters? What role, if any, does it play in shaping their lives?

5. From a very young age, Mileva assumes that she will never marry due to her physical disability. How is this disability both a blessing and a curse? How does her limp impact her differently at different life stages?

6. Mileva and Albert are drawn to each other from the beginning of their years together at Polytechnic. What qualities compel them toward one another? Is their relationship “inevitable,” as Mileva believes.

7. The loss of Lieserl impacts Mileva tremendously, yet she doesn’t fully share her feelings with Albert. Why does she keep her devastation from him? Do you think she should have been more open with him?

8. On several occasions throughout the novel, the characters undergo metamorphoses. What are Mileva’s changes, and what instigates them? Do some of them frustrate you or take too long? Does Albert change during the course of the novel? If so, how would you describe his evolution?

9. Albert Einstein is arguably one of the most famous figures of the twentieth century, but The Other Einstein shares a story about him that you might not have otherwise heard. Did this novel change your perception of him, or about the stories we are told regarding other women in history?