Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai is one of my favourite books.
The Last Samurai follows the relationship between Sibylla, a single mother of severe intelligence and limited social skills, and her son, Ludo, who is a prodigy of learning, with an intellectually-detached curiosity about the identity of his father. The novel get its title from Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, The Seven Samurai, which Sibylla requires Ludo to regularly watch, because she believes the film provides the male role models that he is missing.
The novel falls neatly into two halves. The first half describes Ludo's eduction - his search for knowledge and the pursuit of logic. The second half describes Ludo's search for his father and his application of logic to the realms of human emotion.
The Last Samurai is an amazing ride of ideas, which manages to be both profound and funny. This is a must read!