The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers

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The Gold Bug Variations is a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of twenty-five years. Stuart Ressler, a brilliant young molecular biologist, sets out in 1957 to crack the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked by other, more intractable codes - social, moral, musical, spiritual - and he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, another young man and woman team up to investigate a different scientific mystery - why did the eminently promising Ressler suddenly disappear from the world of science? Strand by strand, these two love stories twist about each other in a double helix of desire.

About Richard Powers

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Richard Powers was born on June 18, 1957 in Evanston, Illinois. He received a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts and worked as a computer programmer and freelance data processor. One day he saw August Sander's 1914 black-and-white photograph of three Westerwald farm boys heading to a dance at the Museum of Fine Arts. This photograph inspired him to quit his job and try writing a novel. Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance was published in 1985. His other works include Prisoner's Dilemma; The Gold Bug Variations; Operation Wandering Soul; Galatea 2.2; Plowing the Dark; The Time of Our Singing; and Generosity: An Enhancement. He has won numerous awards including the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction for Gain, the National Book Award for The Echo Maker, and a Lannan Literary Award.
Published August 1, 1991 by William Morrow & Co. 639 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ranging in detail from genetic formulas to musical ones (with the title a typically witty reference to both Bach's variations and the Poe short story), replete with scintillating characters, especially the oddball team of scientists gathered to crack the code on a midwestern campus in the 50's, a...

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Publishers Weekly

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Despite occasional bewilderment at arid patches of scientific jargon and interminable displays of arcane knowledge for its own sake, a reader persists with The Gold Bug Variations (the title, obviously, is a play on Bach's Goldberg Variations , which have a key role in the book's intellectual str...

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