The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

A Novel in Clues

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

*Book of the Month Club Selection
*Indie Next Pick

“Hugely entertaining… The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is full of delight. Though Ms. Jacobs’s writing has echoes of Thomas Pynchon, Nathanael West and J.D. Salinger, her terrific book displays in abundance a magic all its own.”
—The Wall Street Journal

The Family Fang meets The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in this literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down—and protect—before others can get their hands on it.

Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter Hazel, owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore, receives a letter from him by mail. In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that is after his final bombshell equation, and he charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague. But first, she must find where the equation is hidden.

While in Los Angeles for Isaac’s funeral, Hazel realizes she’s not the only one searching for his life’s work, and that the equation’s implications have potentially disastrous consequences for the extended Severy family, a group of dysfunctional geniuses unmoored by the sudden death of their patriarch.

As agents of an enigmatic company shadow Isaac’s favorite son—a theoretical physicist—and a long-lost cousin mysteriously reappears in Los Angeles, the equation slips further from Hazel’s grasp. She must unravel a series of maddening clues hidden by Isaac inside one of her favorite novels, drawing her ever closer to his mathematical treasure. But when her efforts fall short, she is forced to enlist the help of those with questionable motives.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501175121 | 
  • March 2018
List Price $34.00 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Last Equation of Isaac Severy includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Nova Jacobs. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter, Hazel, receives a letter from him. In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that seeks his final equation—the culmination of his life’s work—and charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague. But first, she must find where the equation is hidden—and why it’s so vitally important.

When Hazel realizes that she’s not the only one seeking the equation, she learns that its implications have potentially deadly consequences for the extended Severy family, a group of dysfunctional geniuses unmoored by the sudden death of their patriarch. Now, Hazel must unravel a series of confounding clues hidden by Isaac, drawing her ever closer to his mathematical bombshell—and forcing her to rely on those who may be less than trustworthy.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. This novel is equal parts family drama, literary see more

About the Author

Nova Jacobs
Photograph by Jeremy Rabb

Nova Jacobs

Nova Jacobs holds an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and is a recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Jeremy. The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is her first novel.

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