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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Isn’t It Ironic

Michael Cunningham, in his novel Specimen Days, presents three stories that are separated in time but are bound by common themes of alienation and class struggle. The stories also share characters that recite Whitman in order to make sense of the world around them. Someone should have gotten those boys some Marx.

I’ll have to read it again. I’m not sure if I liked it or not.


small hands said...

This book was reviewed by Craig Seligman in this past Sunday's Newsday. Doesn't sound like he liked the book much either. He calls Cunningham a "congenitally melancholy writer," and the idea linking the three novellas "untenable." He thinks Whitman an unlikely muse for Cunningham, who rather than embracing the world and its beings, despairs of them (with them?) As much as I recommended The Hours to everyone I knew, I'd probably never read it again. Perhaps you shouldn't bother rereading Specimen Days.

Primer said...

I guess in the end, the characters become authentic by their renunciations of their alienated lives. I’ve moved on. Unfortunately, I ran right into Sarah Vowell’s, Assasination Vacation. She’s another morbid one. At first her enthusiasm for the grim was charming. After a while, it became annoying. She does somewhat rescue things by tying up all her grave digging as a “those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it” parable. I’ve also, once again, scored a copy of Ian McEwan’s, Saturday. I wasn’t able to get too far with it tonight (excuse).

Great posts on your blog.