Historical fiction is where I often go when I need a break from science fiction and fantasy. There is something about learning more about the past that I just love without the dryness of most history books. While I know it might not be completely true, there is always something to learn. I’m always interested in hearing about the women that were in the shadow of big historical figures, so I was instantly drawn to The Other Einstein.
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.
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.
The Other Einstein Review
I always love stories of women that buck the trend of their time. Mitza does it in spades. She is the only woman studying physics at a university. She is from an area of Europe that is looked down upon. Plus a birth defect of her hip means she walks with a slight limp. While she is a genius and that certainly pushed her to science, her father also knew the limp would make her un-marriageable and fostered her learning from an early age. But all of this success doesn’t mean that Mitza is confident in herself. Far from it. And that is what truly makes The Other Einstein shine.
We meet Mitza when she starts at university as one of the first women to study physics there. She is navigating not only school and the prejudices against her, but also building friendships at her pension, and the unlikely friendship and romantic overtures from Einstein. We follow her and Einstein throughout school until their relationship culminates in a weekend away. Up until this point, their relationship was as equals in science.
But then Mitza’s life is turned upside down. Einstein can’t find a job, their marriage is put off, and a big arrival makes Mitza’s schooling almost impossible. After a difficult time, they are finally wed and continue to work on big theories. But then tragedy hits. And we begin to see more of Albert’s selfishness.
After the tragedy, Mitza has an epiphany and they work furiously on the theory of relativity (one of the things that makes Albert famous). Mitza and Albert submit a paper for publication with Albert as the main writer and Mitza as a contributor even though it was her theory. But when the publication comes, it only has Albert’s name on it. This begins a downward spiral in their relationship. Albert’s star continues to rise while Mitza is pushed farther and farther out of the picture. The spiral cumulates at the end of the book when we finally see Mitza become the young woman we met at the early on in the book.
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Overall rating of The Other Einstein
This is a book about relationships, science, and the lengths that people will go for not only love, but what they think they should have. I would recommend this book to anyone. Go pick it up.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Want to get your hands on The Other Einstein? You’re in luck! This week you can get the ebook for only $2.99! Just head on over to Goodreads for links to all the options.