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Orfeo

a Novel
Mar 21, 2019wyenotgo rated this title 2 out of 5 stars
I never thought I would assign a Richard Powers book just 2 stars; not after spectacular works like The Time of Our Singing or Galatea 2.2. I'm still unsure what Powers was trying to do here: Write an anthem (dirge?) for the death of the American Dream? Rhapsodize about a lost era of pot-fueled musical abstract expressionism? Capture some ephemeral connection between the physics of sound and the convoluted geometry/chemistry of molecular biology? Whatever it was, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his own peculiar form of genius, he failed. In the end, it's just a sad book about a man who never quite figured our who or what he was supposed to be. A book set in a country and at a time when all the old illusions, all the old fairy tales about liberty and justice and self-realization have been proven to be lies. A land that has retreated in fear of the boogeymen of its own creation, a society where everyone is possibly a terrorist. All of Powers' vast intellect and range of knowledge could not salvage this mess. Too bad. Sic transit gloria.