Gain: A Novel First Edition, Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 53 ratings
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ISBN-13: 978-0312429096
ISBN-10: 0312429096
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  • Length: 418 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial 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 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. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • File Size : 853 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print Length : 418 pages
  • Publication Date : March 15, 2010
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B003H4I486
  • Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 53 ratings

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4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
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Top reviews from other countries

Herman Norford
3.0 out of 5 stars Capitalism and Development comes with a Price
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 18, 2010
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4.0 out of 5 stars nice powers on capitalism, pollution, cancer, and love
Reviewed in France on August 1, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars an American language-opera on capitalism and its contents
Reviewed in Japan on October 4, 2015
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