Matthew's Reviews > The Gold Bug Variations

The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers
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M_50x66
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Aug 06, 11


RLS CMW DJP RFP J?O CEP JJN PRG ZTS MCJ JEH BLM CRR PLC JCM MEP JNH JDM RBS J?H BJP PJP SCB TLC KES REP RCP DTH I?H CRB JSB SDG



As a preface to Richard Powers' The Gold Bug Variations, this codon-like string of letters not only mirrors the genetic sequencing found throughout the narrative; it also troubles the unsuspecting reader who engages Powers's novel for the first time. Is there a hidden, encoded message? If so, can it be deciphered using the coding techniques found throughout Gold Bug? Or is this cryptogram something else entirely?

The novel's title itself is a play on two twined themes, Bach's Goldberg Variations, which one character listens to obsessively throughout the text (prompting me to give them a try) and Poe's The Gold Bug, matching codebreaking to a buried pirate treasure.

Powers himself is the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant and his erudition is on full display throughout this massive, multidisciplinary, recursive, referential multivariate edifice.

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