Richard Powers, whose novels combine the wonders of science with the marvels of art, astonishes us in different ways with each new book. … The questions he raises about biological and artistic culture are deeply intelligent, yet his characters in Orfeo are sympathetically human. (His female characters – including Els’s ex-wife and daughter — are particularly appealing, competent and strong.) His mastery of his subjects is so complete that you never smell the research. … Bravo, Richard Powers, for hitting so many high notes with Orfeo and contributing to the fraction of books that really matter.