The Gold Bug Variations

The Gold Bug Variations is a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of twenty-five years. Stuart Ressler, a brilliant young molecular biologist, sets out in 1957 to crack the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked by other, more intractable codes – social, moral, musical, spiritual – and he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, another young man and woman team up to investigate a different scientific mystery – why did the eminently promising Ressler suddenly disappear from the world of science? Strand by strand, these two love stories twist about each other in a double helix of desire.

A national bestseller, this magnificent story probes the meaning of love, science, music, and art.

Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award, 1991
Time Magazine Book of the Year, 1991
Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 1991
Vrij Nederland Best Books of 1991
New York Times Notable Book, 1991
De Morgen Best Book of 1991 (named in 1999, in a compilation of the best books each year over the last half century)


Praise for The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers

“The most lavishly ambitious American novel since Gravity’s Rainbow…An outright marvel.”—Washington Post

“Magnificent….Powers’s characters are fascinating, brilliant, eccentric people…but beyond that is the ability to induce the reader to see the world differently, revealed in a new light.”—San Francisco Chronicle

The Gold Bug Variations is the most important and intellectually challenging American novel published this year.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

“Eloquent and fascinating…The Gold Bug Variations is a rambling, playful, lush, vain, bold and might worthwhile lap breaker.”—Chicago Tribune

“Deeply enriching; the decade is not likely to bring another novel half as challenging and original.”—Publisher’s Weekly

1991 The Gold Bug Variations, HarperCollins ISBN 0-688-09891-6

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