A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

Publisher: Anchor

Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems sent shivers through Vienna’s intellectual circles and directly challenged Ludwig Wittgenstein’s dominant philosophy. Alan Turing’s mathematical genius helped him break the Nazi Enigma Code during WWII. Though they never met, their lives strangely mirrored one another—both were brilliant, and both met with tragic ends. Here, a mysterious narrator intertwines these parallel lives into a double helix of genius and anguish, wonderfully capturing not only two radiant, fragile minds but also the zeitgeist of the era.


Vienna, Austria. 1931

The scene is a coffeehouse. The Café Josephinum is a smell first, a stinging smell of roasted Turkish beans too heavy to waft on air and so waiting instead for the more powerful current of steam blown off the surface of boiling saucers fomenting to coffee. By merely snorting the vapors...
Read More


“Intelligent . . . compelling. . . . As Levin alternates between the lives of Turing and G?del, she delivers a convincing, palpably human portrait of solitary genius.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer“A simple work of genius.”—Toronto Globe & Mail“Her characters and their century come brilliantly . . . alive.” —The Los Angeles Times Book Review“Like a lyrical mash-up, Levin interweaves the personal narrative style of her first book with taut prose evocative of Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams.” —Seed Magazine