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The Happy Numbers of Julius Miles

by Jim Keeble

A vivid portrayal of East End London with an unlikely combination of parenthood, gangsters and a matchmaking guardian angel. You are guaranteed an inventive and highly absorbing read in this darkly comic tale of human relationships. Julius, a slightly cowardly, gentle-giant statistician who prefers to hide behind numbers to avoid getting to grips with our tumultuous world will certainly make you smile.

Extract

Only now does his voice start to crack. 'I have always been a disappointment to myself, Arnold. We think we’re the sum of our parts, but we’re not. We don’t add up. Like in mathematics, just because you want the numbers to connect, it doesn’t mean they will – not if you’ve got the equation wrong.'
Julius tries to unbuckle his seatbelt, so he can turn to see the boy. But he’s stuck, held in place by the large white airbag and a shooting pain in his spine.
'Do you know what a happy number is, Arnold?' he continues, trying to keep calm. 'It’s a number where the iterated sums of the squares of the digits terminate at one. The sequence stops. The number reaches happiness. I think you’re my happy number, Arnold. I’ve stopped making the same mistakes over and over. I’ve stopped with you.'

Parallels

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
 

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