I have wished so many times that I had acted differently.
I wish that I had been more worthy of you...
Eventually the war will end, and then we will find each other.
Until then, remember me.
Budapest, 1938. In a city park, beneath a bleakly looming statue, five Jewish mathematicians gather to share ideas, trade proofs and whisper sedition. Expelled from the university and persecuted by the state's laws, they live in an uneasy but not unhappy bubble of work, friendship and slim plans of escape.
Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now, the day after his funeral, Illy's mother has gifted her a curious notebook. Its faded pages are a mix of personal stories and mathematical discovery, all recounted by a young woman seemingly blind to Europe's coming storm. A woman very different to the mother and grandmother everybody knows.
Inspired by a true story, Miriam Sved's beautifully crafted novel charts a course through both the light and dark of human relationships: a vivid recreation of Hungary before German occupation, a decades-old mystery locked in the histories of five students, and a story about the selfless power of love, even years and worlds apart.