2.22.2008

INTUITION by Allegra Goodman

Links for the East Side Readers' discussion.

Reviews ::
Articles::

Blogs::

From RC: : I completely enjoyed this book and look forward to having all my questions answered Thursday, for example:
  • Function of Kate & her sisters?
  • Why did People cover Feng instead of Cliff?
  • Why did Jacob whisper in Robin's ear?
  • Ballpoint pen p 208
  • Why did Robin listen to Nanette?
  • Why did she call Akira p. 228
  • What was up with Cliff's mice? Why couldn't he replicate his results?
  • Why did Feng say no?
  • P. 377 FABULOUS!
  • Who loved Marion the most?
  • Who did Marion love the most?
  • Feminism in the lab in the 80's.... are we seeing equality?
  • What was Marion going to tell Sandy when he interrupted her on page 369?
  • What did Marion think Robin needed on the last page?
  • Why is this book called INTUITION?
  • Why are the hardcover & paperback covers so different?
From SM:
"I have found Allegra Goodman's own Home Page to be most helpful in reading reviews of Intuition and of her other short stories and novels. At that site, she lists all her work and then links to all the various reviews of her books. It's clear to me as I read thru the Intuition reviews that I had read the Washington Post Book World review by Geraldine Brooks, and that's what drove me to go get the book, sometime in 2006. I have found it really interesting to read Intuition a second time. Looking forward to the meeting!"


Well, I am certainly into this one and loving it...I know you sent great links, but did you send, or do you know, if you pull NPR radio on google you can get an interview with author (March 10, 2006), and a review of the book (June 10, 2006). Both are good. Guess I need to read the 1Star reviews....see you soon.

VA
William...
In one of the interviews, she says her story wasn't based on that one. Others, have scoffed.
Your question is pretty good too.... you will be asking it in public tomorrow, right? Welcome back! Renee
thanks, i will be there, and i can ask that question. i am looking forward to people's thoughts about your questions. and i will be eager to find out how other people feel about the story. as a person trained in science, i may not have a representative reaction. i have read a couple of short articles on "the baltimore case", as it's called. and goodman is being deliberately deceptive if she says her book is not based on it. the parallels are so close -- right down to the 2 nih ethics investigators, the forensics investigation about what pen was used to write the lab notes, the congressman (john dingell), and the paranoid former student (akira in the novel, charles maplethorpe in real life). some things were changed for novelistic purposes, but it is the baltimore case. i wonder why she denied it? it seems stupid and pointless. and since the novel is based very closely on the real-life case, that raises a literary question: what do you gain by basing a novel on a real-life event -- when you have your plot and characters (most of them) and outcome already set, and in particular when you don't change the outcome at all? what do you add to reality with your novel? (i don't think she is doing the same thing capote did with "in cold blood".) based on my very limited reading of goodman, she seems to be a polemical writer (partisan? advocate?), so perhaps we should ask the question in reverse: how does this case further goodman's hobbyhorse(s)?


Thanks for the great turnout and great discussion about Intuition by Allegra Goodman. Not everyone was able to finish the novel and others didn't really like it. Again, not a great stylistic achievement, but an interesting novel of ideas that offered plenty of conversational gambits. Several group members had personal experience of scientific and/or research groups and could and did "testify" to Goodman's accuracy. Others had qualms about the animal testing sections. Questions arose about why she used the outline of the 1980 scandal and whether her historical feminist perspective was somewhat anachronistic. Still, an interesting -- and ambiguous -- read, with lots of topics to explore. Thanks, Suzanne, for suggesting it.

4 comments:

RKC said...

Thanks for the great turnout and great discussion about Intuition by Allegra Goodman.

Not everyone was able to finish the novel and others didn't really like it. Again, not a great stylistic achievement, but an interesting novel of ideas that offered plenty of conversational gambits. Several group members had personal experience of scientific and/or research groups and could and did "testify" to Goodman's accuracy. Others had qualms about the animal testing sections.

Questions arose about why she used the outline of the 1980 scandal and whether her historical feminist perspective was somewhat anachronistic. Still, an interesting -- and ambiguous -- read, with lots of topics to explore. Thanks to SM for suggesting it.

VA said...

Well, I am certainly into this one and loving it... I know you sent great links, but did you send, or do you know, if you pull NPR radio on google you can get an interview with author (March 10, 2006) and a review of the book (June 10, 2006). Both are good. Guess I need to read the 1-star reviews.

SM said...

I have found Allegra Goodman's own Home Page to be most helpful in reading reviews of Intuition and of her other short stories and novels. At that site, she lists all her work and then links to all the various reviews of her books.

It's clear to me as I read thru the Intuition reviews that I had read the Washington Post Book World review by Geraldine Brooks, and that's what drove me to go get the book, sometime in 2006. I have found it really interesting to read Intuition a second time. Looking forward to the meeting!

WC said...

{{In one of the interviews, she says her story wasn't based on that one. Others have scoffed.}}

I am looking forward to people's thoughts about your questions and I will be eager to find out how other people feel about the story. As a person trained in science, I may not have a representative reaction. I have read a couple of short articles on "the Baltimore case", as it's called, and Goodman is being deliberately deceptive if she says her book is not based on it. The parallels are so close -- right down to the 2 NIH ethics investigators, the forensics investigation about what pen was used to write the lab notes, the congressman (John Dingell), and the paranoid former student (Akira in the novel, Charles Maplethorpe in real life). Some things were changed for novelistic purposes, but it is the Baltimore case. I wonder why she denied it? It seems stupid and pointless.

And since the novel is based very closely on the real-life case, that raises a literary question: what do you gain by basing a novel on a real-life event -- when you have your plot and characters (most of them) and outcome already set, and in particular when you don't change the outcome at all? What do you add to reality with your novel? (I don't think she is doing the same thing Capote did with "In Cold Blood".)

Based on my very limited reading of Goodman, she seems to be a polemical writer (partisan? Advocate?), so perhaps we should ask the question in reverse: how does this case further Goodman's hobbyhorse(s)?