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Wednesday, May 22

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News Tue Sep 29 2009

Generosity News

Audrey Niffenegger isn't the only local author with a highly anticipated novel coming out. This week also brings us Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers. The press is mixed: the Tribune gives a positive sounding plot synopsis, the Complete Review calls the story "conventional and simple" but successful in "story-telling," and Slate comes out swinging with a subtitle that reads "What Richard Powers' new novel gets wrong." Yikes. Well, it won't be but a few days before you can judge for yourself how the novel stacks up. In the meantime you can get a taste of the story in this excerpt at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

One final item, something that those of you who attended our September discussion of The Echo Maker and had less than glowing opinions of the book may appreciate: Scott at Conversational Reading has no intention of reading the new novel at all. Says Scott, "The more Powers I've read the more I've realized that he goes to pains to make everything extremely clear, to the point that his work is very over-written. This often combines with a tendency to phrase things in a quasi-oblique/quasi-scientific manner that just ends up sounding adolescent. With his ability to link concepts and come up with original ideas, Powers could probably be a strong essayist, but he's not a novelist."

Harsh words, indeed, but I can see how they would apply (and I was part of the minority that did enjoy The Echo Maker). I'll be interested to see if Generosity merits such criticisms when I get the chance to crack it open.

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