a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Good Will (1989)
Jane Smiley

A poor couple living on a rural farm deal with the intrusions of the "outside world", including an affluent and worldly African-American math professor and her young daughter.

Contributed by Marge Bayer

I don't think there is any actual mathematics in Good Will. So it may not really qualify for your list. But for some reason Jane Smiley decided to make this character (Lydia Harris) a mathematician and to specify that her field was combinatorics. (The latter was in response to a question of what she taught.) Her husband was also a mathematician, and they were experiencing the two-body problem, living apart at the time.

Note also that there was a stage adaptation (written for the Directors Company in NYC by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan) in 1998.

PS I assume the similarity between the title of this work and Good Will Hunting (1997) is just a coincidence...but could Matt Damon have read and been influenced by Smiley?

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Good Will
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Antonia's Line by Marleen Gorris
  2. Stay Close, Little Ghost by Oliver Serang
  3. The Capacity for Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow
  4. A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved
  5. Com os Meus Olhos de Cão [With My Dog Eyes] by Hilda Hilst
  6. The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
  7. The Invention of Ana [Forestillinger om Ana Ivan] by Mikkel Rosengaard
  8. Incendies by Denis Villeneuve / Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne / Wajdi Mouawad
  9. Zilkowski's Theorem by Karl Iagnemma
  10. Rough Strife by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Ratings for Good Will:
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Mathematical Content:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)

MotifAcademia, Female Mathematicians,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)