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Gain - Richard Powers

Gain

By: Richard Powers

Paperback | 29 September 2009

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"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.

Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including "Generosity," "Gain," "The Time of Our Singing," "Galatea 2.2," and "Plowing the Dark." "The Echo Maker "won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award. He lives in Illinois. A "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year
"Gain" tells two parallel stories: the first, of Laura Bodey, divorced mother of two and successful real-estate agent in the small town of Lacewood, Illinois, who one day discovers that she has ovarian cancer; and the second, of Clare Soap & Chemical, the company begun by three merchant brothers in 19th-century Boston, which by the turn of the century has grown into a large multiconglomerate with factories in Laura's hometown. As the history of Clare Soap changes with the history of America, so a modern-day Laura Bodey descends into a battle with her terminal illness. By the novel's conclusion, we have learned how the largest enterprises affect us on the most personal level. "Erudite, penetrating and splendidly written . . . There is no gainsaying the remarkable artistry and authority with which Powers, in this dazzling book, continues to impart his singular vision of our life and times."--Bruce Bawer, "The New York Times Book Review"
"With "Gain," Richard Powers launches his own strong bid for entry into the canon of America's best novelists, delivering a work both epic in scope and universal in emotional resonance."--David B. Livingston, " Detroit Free Press"
"What is most remarkable about this novel--and, indeed, about the body of Powers's work so far--is how much life is in it, and how much intelligence . . . I can think of no American novelist of his generation who makes a stronger case]--that the writing of novels is a heroic enterprise, and perhaps even a matter of life and death."--A. O. Scott, " The New York Review of Books"
"Mr. Powers clearly has done extensive research on the development of industry in the U.S., and his prose is rich with memorable images and sharp observations on industry and society."--Elizabeth Bukowski, "The Wall Street Journal"
"Ambitious . . . The most accessible and straightforward of Powers' novels thus far . . . The most emotionally affecting work Powers has done to date."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"Brilliantly observed . . . Powers is a writer of blistering intellect; he has only to think about a subject and the paint curls off. He is a novelist of ideas and a novelist of witness, and in both respects he has few American peers . . . "Gain"] is a blast at the destruction, ecological and otherwise, wrought by the Bonnie-and-Clyde-like partnership between American technology and American capitalism."--Richard Eder, " Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review"
"Richard Powers has created a rare thing: a contemporary business novel that is also an important work of fiction. At once an insightful history of American capitalism, a formula-wielding primer on soapmaking (yes, that's right), and an intimate portrait of a woman who is dying of ovarian cancer, "Gain" is a demanding volume that will leave readers marveling at the author's erudition and troubled over the apparent price of civilization."--Hardy Green, "Business Week"
"This is a harrowing and powerful novel, uncompromising in its depiction."--Joan Mellen, "The Baltimore Sun"
""Gain "consists equally of horizon-busting breadth of knowledge and excruciating depth of vulnerability . . . Powers hovers impossibly between extremes with a tightrope walker's perfect balance. He may be at once the smartest and most warm-hearted novelist in America today."--Melvin Jules Bukiet, "The "C"hicago Times"
"An acclaimed, accredited genius . . . There are many moments when the ideas absolutely dazzle."--Adam Begley, "The New York Observer"
""Gain" is Richard Powers's attempt . . . to loft the novel of American enterprise over the old swamps of socialism, Darwinism, and absurdism into a new place. And he succeeds."--Walter Kirn, "New York" magazine
"Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer . . . Throughout "Gain" there are dreamy, uncannily accurate little paragraphs on the Promethean messianism of corporate America."--Greil Marcus, "San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle"
"Subtle, provocative, and powerful . . . Richard Powers' deceptively simple and terrifyingly effective novel "Gain" says it better than anyone has in a long time: buyer beware."--Rick Moody, "The Village Voice Literary Supplement "
"The elements of a major novel, and "Gain" only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major American novelist."--Adam Kirsch, "The New Republic"
"Never one to tread lightly or think small, Powers here tackles 170 years of US capitalism as embodied by a single corporation, binding it to the struggle of a midwestern mom to a cancer most likely caused by the same company's malfeasance . . . Yet another unconventional work from Powers, a novelist who never does the same thing twice."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"'Endless civilization advances, and we do everything but live.' Against the historical backdrop of the rise of the successful Clare Soap & Chemical Company is the story of

Industry Reviews
"Powers is a writer of blistering intellect." --Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review"[Gain] is erudite, penetrating and splendidly written." --Bruce Bawer, The New York Times Book Review"Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer." --Greil Marcus, The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle"Gain only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major American novelist." --Adam Kirsch, The New Republic Powers is a writer of blistering intellect. "Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review" ["Gain"] is erudite, penetrating and splendidly written. "Bruce Bawer, The New York Times Book Review" Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer. "Greil Marcus, The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle" "Gain "only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major American novelist. "Adam Kirsch, The New Republic"" A "NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW "NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR "Powers is a writer of blistering intellect."--Richard Eder, "Los Angeles Times Book Review ""["Gain"] is erudite, penetrating and splendidly written."--Bruce Bawer, "The New York Times Book Review ""Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer."--Greil Marcus, "The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle """Gain "only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major American novelist."--Adam Kirsch, "The New Republic " "Erudite, penetrating and splendidly written . . . There is no gainsaying the remarkable artistry and authority with which Powers, in this dazzling book, continues to impart his singular vision of our life and times."--Bruce Bawer, "The New York Times Book Review" "With "Gain," Richard Powers launches his own strong bid for entry into the canon of America's best novelists, delivering a work both epic in scope and universal in emotional resonance."--David B. Livingston," Detroit Free Press" "What is most remarkable about this novel--and, indeed, about the body of Powers's work so far--is how much life is in it, and how much intelligence . . . I can think of no American novelist of his generation who makes a stronger [case]--that the writing of novels is a heroic enterprise, and perhaps even a matter of life and death."--A. O. Scott," The New York Review of Books" "Mr. Powers clearly has done extensive research on the development of industry in the U.S., and his prose is rich with memorable images and sharp observations on industry and society."--Elizabeth Bukowski, "The Wall Street Journal" "Ambitious . . . The most accessible and straightforward of Powers' novels thus far . . . The most emotionally affecting work Powers has done to date."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Brilliantly observed . . . Powers is a writer of blistering intellect; he has only to think about a subject and the paint curls off. He is a novelist of ideas and a novelist of witness, and in both respects he has few American peers . . . ["Gain"] is a blast at the destruction, ecological and otherwise, wrought by the Bonnie-and-Clyde-like partnership between American technology andAmerican capitalism."--Richard Eder," The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review" "Richard Powers has created a rare thing: a contemporary business novel that is also an important work of fiction. At once an insightful history of American capitalism, a formula-wielding primer on soapmaking (yes, that's right), and an intimate portrait of a woman who is dying of ovarian cancer, Gain is a demanding volume that will leave readers marveling at the author's erudition and troubled over the apparent price of civilization."--Hardy Green, "Business Week" "This is a harrowing and powerful novel, uncompromising in its depiction."--Joan Mellen, "The Baltimore Sun" ""Gain "consists equally of horizon-busting breadth of knowledge and excruciating depth of vulnerability . . . Powers hovers impossibly between extremes with a tightrope walker's perfect balance. He may be at once the smartest and most warm-hearted novelist in America today."--Melvin Jules Bukiet, "The Chicago Times" "An acclaimed, accredited genius . . . There are many moments when the ideas absolutely dazzle."--Adam Begley, "The New York Observer" "Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer . . . Throughout "Gain" there are dreamy, uncannily accurate little paragraphs on the Promethean messianism of corporate America."--Greil Marcus, "The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle" "Subtle, provocative, and powerful . . . Richard Powers' deceptively simple and terrifyingly effective novel "Gain" says it better than anyone has in a long time: buyer beware."--Rick Moody, "Village Voice Literary Supplement" "The elements of a major novel, and "Gain" only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major Americannovelist."--Adam Kirsch, "The New Republic"

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