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American Poems: Book: Gain: A Novel
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 Home » Book » Gain: A Novel

Gain: A Novel

  • Author:Richard Powers
  • Publisher:Picador
  • Category:Book
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Buy New: $5.02
  • as of 11/27/2014 21:12 EST details
  • You Save: $10.98 (69%)
In Stock
New (51) Used (39) from $0.62
  • Seller:BRILANTI BOOKS
  • Sales Rank:978,260
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Paperback
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Edition:Reprint
  • Pages:416
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):0
  • Dimensions (in):5.5 x 1 x 8.5
  • Publication Date:September 29, 2009
  • ISBN:0312429096
  • EAN:9780312429096
  • ASIN:0312429096
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days


Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
Gain braids together two stories on very different scales. In one, Laura Body, divorced mother of two and a real-estate agent in the small town of Lacewood, Illinois, plunges into a new existence when she learns that she has ovarian cancer. In the other, Clare & Company, a soap manufacturer begun by three brothers in nineteenth-century Boston, grows over the course of a century and a half into an international consumer products conglomerate based in Laura's hometown. Clare's stunning growth reflects the kaleidoscopic history of America; Laura Body's life is changed forever by Clare. The novel's stunning conclusion reveals the countless invisible connections between the largest enterprises and the smallest lives.
 

Amazon.com Review
Richard Powers made his debut in 1985 with Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, a brilliant and almost unbelievably brainy meditation on what he calls "our tortured century." Since then he has produced four more novels, showcasing his mastery of genetics, art history, computer science, theology, aesthetics, and a host of other pointy-headed fields. The author's range--and the meticulous music of his prose, which suggests a considerably less zany Thomas Pynchon--is mind-boggling. Yet his subject remains fairly constant: the acceleration, and consequent dehumanization, of contemporary life.

In Gain, Powers puts our modernity through the wringer once again. This time, though, he points the finger at one villain in particular: rampant, American-style capitalism, as exemplified by a conglomerate called Clare International. His novel, it should be said, is no piece of agitprop, but an intricate lamination of two separate stories. On one hand, Powers describes the rise (and fall and rise) of the Clare empire, beginning in its mercantile infancy: "That family flocked to commerce like finches to morning. They clung to the watery edge of existence: ports, always ports. They thrived in tidal pools, half salt, half sweet." The author's Clare-eyed narrative amounts to a pocket history of corporate America, and a marvelously entertaining one. Lest we get too enamored of this success story, though, Powers introduces a second, countervailing tale, in which a 42-year-old resident of Lacewood, Illinois, is stricken with ovarian cancer. Lacewood happens to be the headquarters of Clare's North American Agricultural Products Division, and lo and behold, it seems that chemical wastes from the plant may be the source of Laura Bodey's illness. The analogy between corporate and cancerous proliferation is pointed--too pointed, perhaps. But no other recent novelist has written so knowingly, and with such splendid indignation, about capitalism and its discontents.


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