The Cookbook Collector, By Allegra Goodman

When the facts get in the way of a good story

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The Independent Culture

After finding an earlier novel by Goodman, Intuition, a little too cold and dry, I wondered if this new book would warm things up.

But in spite of the charismatic interplay between sister-opposites, CEO Emily and Save-the-Trees philosophy student Jess, the same chill pervades here. Goodman likes facts – whether it's science facts or economic facts or computer facts, she's at her most comfortable describing the intricacies of molecular structures or how dot.coms make millions. It's her way of widening her books out, away from internal psychological struggle and towards a more factual narrative, but something beguiling is lost.