Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Intuition," by Allegra Goodman

I have to admit (and I am not proud of this) that I am generally not particularly interested in reading about science topics. So I wasn’t sure if I would like Allegra Goodman’s novel “Intuition” (Random House/Books on Tape, 2006), but I was looking in the library for a novel on CD to listen to in my car, and this one looked promising. It tells the story of the researchers at a lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts who seem to be in the process of discovering a possible cure for some cancers. This potential breakthrough is of course very exciting, but soon becomes controversial, with accusations of irregularities by one researcher against another. The novel gives readers interesting insights into how such a lab works, the routines, the sometimes boring stretches, the excitement when it appears there might be a breakthrough, the competitiveness of the science research world, and the politics of funding research. Suspense builds throughout the novel, keeping the reader involved. The most interesting part though, for me, is the personalities and relationships of the researchers, and the insights into their private as well as work lives. This novel will not be on any of my “best” lists, but I did learn from it and enjoy it.

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