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Summary

Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, 2009.

Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are codirectors of a lab at the Philpott Institute dedicated to cancer research and desperately in need of a grant. Both mentors and supervisors of their young postdoctoral proteges, Glass and Mendelssohn demand dedication and obedience in a competitive environment where funding is scarce and results elusive.

So when the experiments of Cliff Bannaker, a young postdoc in a rut, begin to work, the entire lab becomes giddy with newfound expectations. But Cliff's rigorous colleague and girlfriend, Robin Decker, suspects the unthinkable: that his findings are fraudulent. As Robin makes her private doubts public and Cliff maintains his innocence, a life-changing controversy engulfs the lab and everyone in it.

©2006 Allegra Goodman (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Extremely engaging....A truly humanist novel from the supposedly antiseptic halls of science." (Publishers Weekly)
"Goodman's sympathetic yet floundering characters are compelling, their conflicts provocative, and her writing spellbinding....Vivid, incisive, and funny." (Booklist)

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Norman
  • 05-10-06

not recommended

This slow, plodding account is not worth your time. All characters, whether main or secondary, are less than one dimensional and have no appealing or engaging dimensions. The plot churns along at a crawl, offers no surprises or lessons and ends abruptly, suggesting that the author might have run out of steam, interest, or ideas. The book's narrator/reader was capable and quite satisfactory.

2 people found this helpful