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Intuition: A Novelby Allegra Goodman
Allegra Goodman is well known for her skillful, nuanced, and irreverent prose from such novels as Kaaterskill Falls and Paradise Park. Although the prose is just as strong in Intuition, the story and characters are so engrossing it's hard to slow down enough to notice. Rich and mysterious, Intuition explores science, ethics, and morality with equal parts wit and grace.
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as "a writer of uncommon clarity" by the New Yorker, National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman has dazzled readers with her acclaimed works of fiction, including such beloved bestsellers as The Family Markowitz and Kaaterskill Falls. Now she returns with a bracing new novel, at once an intricate mystery and a rich human drama set in the high-stakes atmosphere of a prestigious research institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are codirectors of a lab at the Philpott Institute dedicated to cancer research and desperately in need of a grant. Both mentors and supervisors of their young postdoctoral protégés, Glass and Mendelssohn demand dedication and obedience in a competitive environment where funding is scarce and results elusive. So when the experiments of Cliff Bannaker, a young postdoc in a rut, begin to work, the entire lab becomes giddy with newfound expectations. But Cliff?s rigorous colleague — and girlfriend — Robin Decker suspects the unthinkable: that his findings are fraudulent. As Robin makes her private doubts public and Cliff maintains his innocence, a life-changing controversy engulfs the lab and everyone in it.
With extraordinary insight, Allegra Goodman brilliantly explores the intricate mixture of workplace intrigue, scientific ardor, and the moral consequences of a rush to judgment. She has written an unforgettable novel.
"In another quiet but powerful novel from Goodman (Kaaterskill Falls), a struggling cancer lab at Boston's Philpott Institute becomes the stage for its researchers' personalities and passions, and for the slippery definitions of freedom and responsibility in grant-driven American science. When the once-discredited R-7 virus, the project of playboy postdoc Cliff, seems to reduce cancerous tumors in mice, lab director Sandy Glass insists on publishing the preliminary results immediately, against the advice of his more cautious codirector, Marion Mendelssohn. The research team sees a glorious future ahead, but Robin, Cliff's resentful ex-girlfriend and co-researcher, suspects that the findings are too good to be true and attempts to prove Cliff's results are in error. The resulting inquiry spins out of control. With subtle but uncanny effectiveness, Goodman illuminates the inner lives of each character, depicting events from one point of view until another section suddenly throws that perspective into doubt. The result is an episodically paced but extremely engaging novel that reflects the stops and starts of the scientific process, as well as its dependence on the complicated individuals who do the work. In the meantime, she draws tender but unflinching portraits of the characters' personal lives for a truly humanist novel from the supposedly antiseptic halls of science." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Vivid, incisive, and funny...Goodman not only tells a psychologically dazzling and covertly archetypal story but also conducts a timely inquiry into our society's problematic matrix of science, money, and politics." Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)
"[R]ich, intricate....Top-notch in every respect. A superlative novel." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"No one writes 19th Century novels about 20th — and now 21st — century America better than Allegra Goodman....[A] delicate analysis of how an ethics scandal filters through the sensibility of brilliant and brilliantly realized characters. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly
"Goodman has laced Intuition with mystery and failed romance, and both are compelling, significant elements of the overall story, but it's the strength and complexity of her characters that really carry the novel." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"Self-knowledge and scientific knowledge eddy and swell in this novel in pleasing parallel to each other, making the book not only satisfying as a story of self-discovery but, in a deeper sense, a richly conceived novel about the rewards of work." Los Angeles Times
"[Ms. Goodman's] characters so live and breathe on the page that they could get up and make you a cup of coffee....Her writing is rich, so rich it would be easy to miss how skillful is the prose itself. Exciting...a stunning achievement." The Economist
"Intuition is so character-driven that the plot occasionally sinks beneath the press of its personalities. Yet Goodman's subject...is timely and intriguing....Goodman presides over her universe with a light and sometimes funny touch." Geraldine Brooks, The Washington Post
"Goodman pulls off an almost Victorian dedication to character in this novel, entering the minds of a diverse cast, men and women of all races. The result is a compelling hybrid: a morality tale that is old-fashioned but, in its own resplendent way, remarkably contemporary." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"What a feat, to pull off a large story of science and politics in the here and now, with beautifully drawn and compelling characters, with all the large and small details of their lives. What a gift not to pass judgement on any of them, to love each character equally and fairly. The ending is perfection." Jane Hamilton, author of The Map of the World
"This brilliant novel shows a world of labs and researchers which seems unfamiliar to some of us, yet it's a world intimately relevant to our existence — our fallibility and vulnerability. Page by page the story shimmers with insights into the subtlety and complexity of human psychology and relationships. Allegra Goodman writes like a master." Ha-Jin, National Book Award winning author of Waiting
About the Author
Allegra Goodman's work has appeared in the New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, Slate, and the American Scholar. Named by the New Yorker as one of the twenty best writers under forty, she is also the recipient of a Whiting Award and the Salon magazine award for fiction. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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