with galatea 2.2, herbert tucker introduced me to richard powers. though i enjoyed the book i felt it was in some ways disappointing, and i was not sufficiently impressed. oh, that i would read more powers in the future was not the question - he was clearly worth reading - and with his books i kept up the sort of nodding acquaintance through a shop window - but powers always strikes me as being so - american - in subject and style - and someone - or at least, if you started with galatea 2.2 you'd be slightly uneasy that he's a scientist - and wonder if in some ways you are not feeling threatened - and then midwestern settings always make me feel alienated and bored and sometimes plain uncomprehending. perhaps too, my disappointment with the outcome of galatea ecllipsed my appreciation? today i am two-thirds of the way through his 1998 novel gain, and i can say i have been quite converted. thoroughly american he is no doubt, nothing like the wide-casting pan-european novelists i like so much, not a sebald or a nooteboom. but if i used to be afraid he was american social commentary, i see now that his is above all the novel of ideas, to which i was welcomed. and the prose astonished. humorous and always elegantly allusive. at once dense with erudite turns of phrase beautiful and startling and yet striking perfect pitch with the cadences of corporate america - and that is somehow, you think, highly controlled mimicry.

i should probably double post this on the book blog.

not to mention that the invention of clare alone is genius.



p.s. salon interview with richard powers on gain.