Cardiff in the 1980s is a place where maths can get you noticed. Rumis Vasi is the town's 'maths prodigy': untangling numbers and Rubik's Cubes protects her from the harsh vagaries of the playground and gives a pattern to her world. But after years of her father's determined tutoring, Rumi finds that numbers are beginning to lose their innocence. India infuses her with a romantic sense of belonging and, as she grows older, and desire becomes a dirty word in the Vasi household, the idea of love is opened up to painful examination.
In a voice that is by turns very funny and fiercely tender, Nikita Lalwani brings us a captivating story of high aspirations and deep longing, and of the sometime loneliness of childhood.
A sparkling funny and poignant study of a young maths prodigy struggling with her gift and a difficult family
Superb, brilliantly realised. The searing narrative is unflinchingly and tenderly written
Pinpoints with genuine insight the bewilderment and anguish of a young woman marked out from her peers
Lalwani's evocation of teenage dislocation is pitch-perfect and she inhabits her heroine's interior world with tender authority
The novel's triumph is in elucidating the hurt of both child and parents. Lalwani compellingly depicts the pain and pleasure of breaking the rules
Beautiful, brilliant . . . Unveils the grand emotions and tiny details of other people's lives with insight, compassion, humour and heartbreaking honesty
Accomplished and confident. Much to admire from the assured descriptions to the well judged blend of comedy and drama
A poignant, vivid debut. Beautifully describes the dramas of growing up
A giddy portrayal of youthful exuberance unleashed that rings startlingly true
Compelling, heart-wrenching and laced with redemptive hope . . . Touching and funny
The Booker Prize-longlisted author of You People on meeting Salman Rushdie, dreaming of the world of Fantastic Mr Fox, and how hitting her creative flow feels like an advert for fabric conditioner.
Michael Rosen, Afua Hirsch and Jon Sopel join a range of Penguin authors, including doctors, teachers, midwives, scientists and more, to tell the story of Covid-19 and reflect on the tragedies, small victories and unsung heroes from 12 months that transformed the world.