Gain: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Ever since his brilliant debut, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, Richard Powers has established himself as one of the most interesting contemporary novelists. Gain alternates between two narratives: the background tale involves the growth of a business over two centuries from a family-run soap company to a multinational conglomerate: the foreground story centers on a woman's discovery that her ovarian cancer may be linked to that corporation's growth. Powers adroitly manages to make the evolution of American business entertaining, while he devastatingly describes the underbelly of the American dream.--Will

— From Will's Staff Favorites


Gain braids together two stories on very different scales. In one, Laura Body, divorced mother of two and a real-estate agent in the small town of Lacewood, Illinois, plunges into a new existence when she learns that she has ovarian cancer. In the other, Clare & Company, a soap manufacturer begun by three brothers in nineteenth-century Boston, grows over the course of a century and a half into an international consumer products conglomerate based in Laura's hometown. Clare's stunning growth reflects the kaleidoscopic history of America; Laura Body's life is changed forever by Clare. The novel's stunning conclusion reveals the countless invisible connections between the largest enterprises and the smallest lives.

About the Author

Richard Powers is the author of several novels, including The Echo Maker (FSG, 2006), which won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He lives in Illinois.

Praise For…

“Powers is a writer of blistering intellect.” —Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“[Gain] is erudite, penetrating and splendidly written.” —Bruce Bawer, The New York Times Book Review

“Richard Powers has proven himself a visionary writer.” —Greil Marcus, The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

Gain only confirms that Powers is, in fact, a major American novelist.” —Adam Kirsch, The New Republic

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312429096
ISBN-10: 0312429096
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: September 29th, 2009
Pages: 416
Language: English