Wednesday 28 April 2021

Half Life

 Author: Jillian Cantor

ISBN: 9780062969880

Hi Everyone,

What if we could write the story of our life as reality and how it could have been if we had just taken the other path?

Have you ever thought about how things would have been if only you had taken the other path?

Said "Yes" where you said "No".

Or, not got on the train and moved to another part of the world but stayed with the one person you really loved?


Life is full of options and we are often left analyzing the "what if's".

Jullian Cantor has written such a novel that answers the "what if" to Marya Sklodawska.  She could have stayed Poland and lived a life way different from the life she lived in Paris and in this novel she does both.  You will read chapter by chapter the parallel happenings of her life in Paris had she got on the train, and her life in Poland had she not got on the train.

I was gripped into both stories.  I had the "No!" moments, where I thought "What are thinking?" and then was enticed back into the supportive reader who agreed with her choices.  It was a roller coaster ride as I flicked from chapter to chapter and one life to the other.

It was a fantastic read like none other that I have encountered.  It was the most brilliant concept put into written word and I want more novels like this one.

I was left questioning the choices I have made in my life.  I have journeyed many options and chosen many paths that I may or may not chose now that I am older and wiser.  As I lay the book down each night I was left thinking about our parallel opportunities and the options that we take.  I came to the end of the book, and the end of my own questions, and agreed that Maria (Marya) chose the right path at the right time and so have I.  Life is a journey of possibilities and we make choices that make the journey interesting.  I wonder how many times Maria wondered about her choices? I still have many to make, but so far life's choices have put me on a journey that I am happy to have taken.

If you get the opportunity to read 'Half Life' then pick it up and take the journey with Maria.  Take the journey with yourself too.


In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.But what if she had made a different choice?

What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant  hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted, instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie?

Entwining Marie Curie's real story with Marya Zorawska's fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled--and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge. Through parallel contrasting versions of Marya's life, Jillian Cantor's unique historical novel asks what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. It examines how the lives of one remarkable woman and the people she loved - as well as the world at large and course of science and history--might have been irrevocably changed in ways both great and small.

Description taken from: Book Depository

Book available from Book Depository

Happy reading

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