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Intuition Cover



Reading Group Guide

Hailed as "a writer of uncommon clarity" by the New Yorker, National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman has for years delighted reading groups with her fiction, including such beloved bestsellers as The Family Markowitz and Kaaterskill Falls. Set in the high-stakes atmosphere of a prestigious research institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Intuition combines the vivid character portrayals and deeply human situations that have won Goodman high acclaim, and elements of a mystery add to the intrigue of this alluring drama.

Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are codirectors of a lab dedicated to cancer research but desperately in need of grants. When a key to the cure seems to have been discovered by Cliff Bannaker, their young postdoc protégé, 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. Illuminating the motivations and inner lives of each player in the controversy, Goodman explores the elusive quests that haunt us all.

The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Allegra Goodman's Intuition. We hope they will enrich your experience of this dazzling novel.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

labrys, April 13, 2008 (view all comments by labrys)
an exquisite book that paints convincing characters - very reminicent of the grad students and academic dysfunction I know - with enough intrigue to keep you on your toes! a great read - certainly her best yet!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Elaine, February 21, 2007 (view all comments by Elaine)
I wonder whether the earlier reviewer listened to an abridged edition of this book, because I think this is a wonderful book. I am a research scientist (although in a very different field) and although this is a novel, it felt very much like the reality I know. The intensity of some of the characters was right on target, and the jealousies, the competitiveness - they're all right there in my lab.

I read Goodman's earlier Kaaterskill Falls and liked it, but this is a much much more interesting read.
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(7 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
Baby Djojonegoro, February 15, 2007 (view all comments by Baby Djojonegoro)
Maybe this book is better read than listened to, because after I listened to the audiobook I came away marveling at how it could have gotten rave reviews. I had read that this book got the science, and the lab politics behind the science, right through its well-sketched out characters. Well, maybe by Dan Brown standards the characters are full, complex individuals, but by my standards they are little more than cardboard figures who are meant to stand for something (the Impetuous Genius who gets his comeuppance, the Charmless Schoolmarm who's vindicated). Too often the author told me what a character was like instead of letting me infer it from the his/her actions - usually in a long passage when a sentence or two would do. I gave this book a chance, listened all the way to the end, but couldn't muster up any genuine interest in the characters and hence their predicament. It reminded me of why I got out of the lab: it's a long, sometimes painful slog, with no real payoff at the end.
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Product Details

Goodman, Allegra
Dial Press
Gilmore, Jennifer
Psychological fiction
Medical novels
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.31 in 0.64 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Intuition Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Dial Press - English 9780385336109 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"... ambitious and provocative, more Molotov cocktail than standard-issue domestic drama, raising profound questions about loyalty, independence, love of family and country ..."--O, the Oprah Magazine
"Synopsis" by ,
In Washington, D.C., life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the swiftly changing times. In 1979, the Cold War is waning and the age of protest has come and gone, leaving a once radical family to face a new set of challenges. Something Red is a masterly novel that unfurls with suspense, humor, and insight. Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, struggles both to succeed in a career he doesn’t quite believe in and to live up to his father’s leftist legacy. Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, joins a cultlike group in search of the fulfillment she once felt. Happy-go-lucky Benjamin is heading off to college, there to experience an awakening of social conscience, and sixteen-year-old Vanessa finds a cure for alienation in D.C.’s hardcore music scene. As each of them follows separate trajectories of personal protest and compromise along the edge of a new decade, radical traditions long dormant in their family awaken once again, with shocking, far-reaching results. A poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies,
"Synopsis" by , National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman has dazzled readers with her acclaimed works of fiction. 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.
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