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L'affaire olympia

Author Mickael Launay
Translator Dr. Izzeddine khattabi
Publish Year
ISBN 9789948136613


This is a novel about mathematical puzzles and the adventures of Chrysaline, Professor Théodore Folifou's daughter, as well as her two grandchildren, Apolline (the narrator) who is a twenty-year-old university student and Pierrot who is an intelligent ten-year-old boy. Their goal is to reveal the secrets of The Olympia Academy.
Through thrilling events and tours of Paris' most prominent streets and landmarks, the author follows the journey of these three adventurers and their attempts to solve some mathematical puzzles as a necessary condition of membership of The Olympia Academy, the founding of which was thanks to Einstein and Théodore Folifou the grandfather.
This book's worth is evident in three basic elements: the expression of mathematical intelligence through which we learn how to solve arithmetical puzzles, demonstrated through the elements of suspense, comic style, and the application of science. The events of the novel are built on suspense more akin to a detective story, in which the protagonists become involved in thrilling adventures with an ending the reader could not foresee. The suspense is heightened by connecting the events of the novel with Paris' famous landmarks (like Montparnasse cemetery where Poincaré is buried), including some of the French capital's celebrated streets and metro stations. They add a realistic touch to these adventures.
The author also uses comic dialogue, most evident in the expressions of Chrysaline the grandmother. Her attitude is mostly characterised by anger, albeit one the reader can laugh at because it is mixed with poignant irony. In it, we see the character of an old woman who refuses to be patronised and who clings to life in a big way. Comical situations happen involving Lusician, the member of the Academy that the narrator Apolline likens to the cartoon character Humpty Dumpty (the 'Egg Man'). This man combines sober scientific composure with a sense of humour and a love of sweets.
The narrative of the story includes, of course, a series of mathematical puzzles and related details, alongside the evocation of scientists from Pythagoras and Euclid to Fermat, Poincaré, and Einstein. It will undoubtedly enhance the reader's scientific knowledge.
These details underline the importance of this entertaining novel, in which serious topics are interwoven with comedy, mathematical knowledge, and interesting events and developments.