Catherine Chung, "The Tenth Muse" (HarperCollins, 2019)


Katherine recalls being young and friendless. While growing up in the 40’ and 50’s, she remembers when her mother packed up and left, her father remarried, and she was left to focus on her studies – she was an exceptional mathematician. But she’d been wrong about her family – she later learned that the woman who gave birth to her had been murdered by the Nazis during WWII. In graduate school pursuing a doctorate in mathematics, Katherine gets involved with her brilliant teacher and travels to Germany for a year of research and introspection. She follows a few clues about her mother, most with dead ends, and discovers snippets of the truth. Nothing is as it seems, and she is nearly derailed time and again. The Tenth Muse (HarperCollins, 2019) is an engrossing tale about identity and the passion for knowledge.

Catherine Chung earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago and an MFA at Cornell University. She has worked at a think tank and has gotten encouragement from a number of foundations and family members. Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. she was a Granta New Voice and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. Chung has published work in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Granta. She lives in New York City. Before the pandemic, she loved traveling, skiing, hiking, and eating foods prepared by other people.

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