The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, particularly when it gives us a point of view overlooked by official history. So I was really interested in the premise of The Other Einstein… which tells the story of Albert Einstein’s first wife Mileva Marić, who in 1896 is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich.
She married her charismatic classmate looking forward to a union of equals. A brilliant physicist in her own right, her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century… but her name has been largely forgotten.
There is always a risk with historical fiction based on real people, and I must emphasise that this is a work of fiction… there is speculation in The Other Einstein. We can never know the full truth of what goes on behind closed doors, and I have no doubt that Mileva Marić collaborated with Einstein to some extent – however I would have preferred if credit was not fully transplanted away from him in the way this book does. Despite this caveat there is a lot to enjoy in The Other Einstein.
The research into the time period is woven lightly into the narrative, and the sense of time and place is skillfully evoked. Mileva is a wonderful character, and her struggle to reconcile her ambition and societal expectation for her gender is one that resonates. In a world where women are still under represented in STEM this book is well worth reading.
This guest review was contributed by Eats Plants Reads Books. A recovering academic and complete bookaholic, this blogger reads whenever she can and enjoys writing thoughtful, honest reviews.