To make a mark, to see one’s name indelibly imprinted on a field! To be a Pasteur or a Von Behring, or a Salk, revered for saving lives, as Beethoven was revered for his profundity.
I had been wanting to read this book for a long time — ever since it was listed on the 2006 New York Notable list. I really didn’t know much about the book before reading it. I just knew that it was about a research lab and therefore had quite a bit of science to it, and that it was recommended by lablit.com, a site devoted to reading ‘science in fiction’ books (not the same as science-fiction — see the site for more details).
I hesitate to tell too much of the details as I enjoyed going into the book ‘blind,’ but I will say I was struck by how well Goodman portrayed the characters in the novel. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses and Goodman showed both dimensions of each character brilliantly. I also thought the book was very readable for the amount of science involved, but then again I’m a geek that way. (If you love mice, though, I would recommend you think twice before reading.)
Goodman raises and illustrates some important ethical questions, and I was fascinated by the fact that the book appears to present both sides of these questions equally. I would have loved to have read this with a group of people who are interested in science and ethics.
All in all, I was impressed with Goodman’s novel and I will definitely read more of her work.
2006, 352 pp.