A Universe of Sufficient Size
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, five young Jewish mathematicians gather to share ideas, trade proofs and whisper sedition.
Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now Illy’s mother has gifted her a curious notebook, its pages a mix of personal story and mathematical discovery recounted by a young woman full of hopes and regrets.
‘A fascinating, compelling, beautifully written novel.’ Liane Moriarty
‘Miriam Sved has woven three generations and two periods of history into a page-turning, emotional rollercoaster to remind us all that families are messy, complicated and that the repercussions of decisions made decades ago can come back to haunt you… I cannot recommend this book highly enough.’ Heather Morris
‘A Universe of Sufficient Size is plotted with the precision of a complex Venn diagram, with overlapping identities, intersecting storylines, narrative arcs, and psychological circles that eventually resolve themselves into a poignant and breathtaking denouement.’ Mandy Sayer
Miriam Sved is the author of the novel Game Day (Picador 2014) and the new novel A Universe of Sufficient Size (Picador 2019). Her novella ‘All the Things I Should’ve Given’ was a winner of Griffith Review’s 2018 Novella Project, and her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin and Overland. She is a contributing editor on the feminist anthologies #MeToo: Stories from the Australian movement (forthcoming with Picador), Mothers & Others: Australian writers on why not all women are mothers and not all mothers are the same (Pan Macmillan 2015) and Just Between Us: Australian writers tell the truth about female friendship (Pan Macmillan 2013). Read more about Miriam.
‘Miriam Sved’s A Universe of Sufficient Size, is a beautifully imagined inter-generational portrait of friendship, love and loss, set across three continents.
In the rapidly changing political landscape of 1930s Hungary, extraordinary skills with maths offer two friends a rare opportunity for protection and escape, but in the chaos and urgency of the war, these same skills will become the very source of betrayal and entrapment.
Sved’s novel impels us to reflect deeply on the play between relationships and ambitions, whether these be casual or convenient, crucial or compromised.
A University of Sufficient Size is meticulously researched and intricately plotted, making the past heartbreakingly relevant to the present.
This book is the product of a fiercely intelligent writer, whose extraordinary skills with storytelling shine bright in this complex and compelling second novel.’
Julienne van Loon
‘Love, friendship and sacrifice explode from the pages as two brilliant young women in war torn Hungary make decisions there can be no turning back from; that will have dire consequences for one, a life and family across two continents for the other.
Miriam has woven three generations and two periods of history into a page turning, emotional rollercoaster to remind us all that families are messy, complicated and how the repercussions of decisions made decades ago can come back and haunt you.
Miriam writes with authenticity and passion, where genius and true friendship pull together then strain and part. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.’
© Miriam Sved