Keith Staskiewicz
January 22, 2014 AT 05:00 AM EST

Orfeo

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Richard Powers

We gave it an A-

Like Douglas Hofstadter’s seminal Gödel, Escher, Bach and Powers’ own best- known work, The Gold Bug Variations, the latest novel from the MacArthur Fellowship-winning author examines the repeating patterns underlying both music and science. Peter Els is a retired university professor and composer who spends his free time looking for symphonies on the cellular level in his home microbiology lab. But when his own patterns end up putting him on the radar of Homeland Security, he becomes an unexpected fugitive. Powers’ writing is complex and heady without being headachy, and his synesthetic descriptions of finding melodies in the mundane are full of their own kind of music. A-

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