Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

The latest novel by Powers has its highs and lows, but what interested me most was the way Powers always gives his novels a broader, bigger scope (an explicit nod toward attempted meaning) than just telling a good story. And one of the ways he does this is by adding science and nature to the narrative. The novel opens with the migration of thousands of sandhill cranes and instantly the reader knows this isn't just a matter of setting--the cranes have emotional and intellectual resonance that echoes throughout the whole novel. They probably would even if they didn't come first in the book but it was absolutely right for them to come first.

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