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Extended Audio Sample Intuition Audiobook, by Allegra Goodman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,454 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Allegra Goodman Narrator: Jenna Stern Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2006 ISBN: 9780739325254
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Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are codirectors of a lab at the Philpott Institute dedicated to cancer research and desperately in need of a grant. Both mentors and supervisors of their young postdoctoral protégés, Glass and Mendelssohn demand dedication and obedience in a competitive environment where funding is scarce and results elusive. So when the experiments of Cliff Bannaker, a young postdoc in a rut, begin to work, the entire lab becomes giddy with newfound expectations. But Cliff’s rigorous colleague–and girlfriend–Robin Decker suspects the unthinkable: that his findings are fraudulent. As Robin makes her private doubts public and Cliff maintains his innocence, a life-changing controversy engulfs the lab and everyone in it. 

With extraordinary insight, Allegra Goodman brilliantly explores the intricate mixture of workplace intrigue, scientific ardor, and the moral consequences of a rush to judgment. She has written an unforgettable novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Goodman's characters and story are luxuriously imagined.... [She] meticulously charts the insidiousness of doubt, showing how it metastasizes. Newsday
  • Superb.... a delicate analysis of how an ethics scandal filters through the sensibility of brilliant and brilliantly realized characters. It's a tricky operation that Goodman performs with a precision of a scientist, and the flair of an artist at the top of her game. A. Entertainment Weekly
  • This is a story of love and science both gone wrong, and Goodman handles the narrative and its wide web of details with efficiency and grace, bringing a novelist's eye to bear on a realm too often ignored. O Magazine
  • Powerful.... [An] extremely engaging novel that reflects the stops and starts of the scientific process, as well as its dependence on the complicated individuals who do the work.... A truly humanist novel from the supposedly antiseptic halls of science. Publishers Weekly
  • This brilliant novel shows a world of labs and researchers which seems unfamiliar to some of us, yet it's a world intimately relevant to our existence—our fallibility and vulnerability. Page by page the story shimmers with insights into the subtlety and complexity of human psychology and relationships. Allegra Goodman writes like a master. Ha-Jin, National Book Award winning author of WAITING and WAR TRASH
  • "What a feat, to pull off a large story of science and politics in the here and now, with beautifully drawn and compelling characters, with all the large and small details of their lives. What a gift not to pass judgement on any of them, to love each character equally and fairly. The ending is perfection. Jane Hamilton, author of THE MAP OF THE WORLD and THE BOOK OF RUTH
  • Goodman’s interests—if not always her sympathies—lie with her all-too-human albeit brilliant creations....her portrayals of these scientists, in and out of their lab coats, are of the richest texture. These characters are only as beset by vanity, selfishness, egotism as the rest of us. But in the fiercely competitive, high-stakes world of cancer research, it’s enough for careers–and lives–to be destroyed. Vogue
  • “The best major American novel of the year so far The New York Sun
  • “Winningly original...In smartly unfolding scenes of scientific intrigue, political maneuvering, romance, and complex alliances, these memorably drawn characters play out their personal and professional dreams and deceptions. Goodman transports us in a fugue state of first-class storytelling from the bare-bones basement of the Philpott to the gleaming halls of Congress and back,Ébring[ing] us that much closer to the heart of the matter: what it means to be–merely, magnificently–human. Elle

    "Believe it or not, a thriller and a page-turner about scientific fraud. Brilliant.
  • There’s something of the breadth and generosity of a Victorian “three-decker” novel in the skill with which Goodman threads her ingenious plot through an ambitious mobilization of terse confrontations and detail-crammed scenes...Top-notch in every respect. A superlative novel. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 2/11/2014

    " This was a book group selection two years ago and I can't believe that I didn't write down my impressions now that I am reading another Allegra Goodman book. I do know that some of the people in our reading group did not like the book at all. For me, it rang true of academia. Which, looking in from the sidelines as I did, when I worked in academia, was a ruthless, competition cloaked in high-brow manners. This book understoood the competivness of academia and especially in the field of cancer research in a university research lab. Then their were the questions of loyalties to principles or relationships and where our integrity might lie. I found myself wondering what I would have done if my boyfriend turned out to be a faker in an area that I wouldn't have allowed faking. All that said, I can't remember too much about the book except that I thought it was very well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coralie | 2/6/2014

    " I just finished "Intuition" by Allegra Goodman. The book was all about what goes on in research labs. This lab was a cancer research lab. Things at the lab are going badly and everyone is discouraged until Cliff, one of the researchers, thinks he has made a groundbreaking discovery. This sets off a chain of events as the lab directors have to decide what to do with this information. When do they publish the results, how do they handle the resulting publicity? The story explores the politics, the egos, the lab procedures, the work environment, everything to do with research labs. One of the directors had three young adult daughters and the author even includes a subplot about how events in the lab impact their lives. Goodman did a good job of describing the negative and positive aspects of each character so that one didn't come out the "Good guy" and one the "Bad guy". You could see the wrong and right behind each characters decisions. I liked the young girls the best of any of the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trina | 1/29/2014

    " So-so story involving scientific research. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deirdre | 1/23/2014

    " Excellent character development, but slow plot movement. Slowing up as I near the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 deejah | 1/20/2014

    " Lots of science in this book. Pretty interesting overall. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 1/19/2014

    " I read this with interest now that I work with the AHA. The novel offers a great panoply of complicated, sympathetic, and diverse characters, but ultimately presents a rather depressing take on the intersection of science, politics, the media, and interpersonal relationships, only somewhat redeemed at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/17/2014

    " had trouble getting through this, although the science is very accurate...eventually gave up "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/4/2014

    " The setting was so interesting for this book. It was a lab where research was being done to make breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer. The lab was a place where mice were being experimented on. I love characters and this book held an interesting array. Sandy (male) and Marion are partners who run the lab and their relationship is very much like a marriage. However, Sandy is married to Ann and has three girls and Marion is married to Jacob and has one son. There are also many grad students working in the lab. However, the two most significant are Cliff and Robin (female) who begin as lovers but then break up. Robin is serious about doing excellent research and Cliff has grown to be. Cliff suddenly has a breakthrough with his experiments and the ripple effects within and throughout the other characters begin. The title of this book refers to whether or not intuition can be a part of the scientific equation. All the workers in a lab become part of a subculture, for good or bad, and what will they become because of that experience? Thinking of labs and how they work was fascinating. Also, thinking about the motives of the scientists, their funders, the government, grant writers, etc. was intriguing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stantontas | 1/2/2014

    " I liked this. Morally muddy, non-simplistic novel that works as a thriller. Bonus points for being the only book I can think of that features believable, non-cipher scientist characters. People rather than plot devices. And nicely written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 12/27/2013

    " Interesting story of life in a research lab. The competition and relationships between the researchers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 12/9/2013

    " I enjoyed this book because it was a about a drama that unfolded in a lab setting. Since I work in a lab setting, I really thought Allegra did very well at capturing the dynamic -- people working together as a family, but also as competition. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 11/16/2013

    " My husband is a research scientist, and even he was amazed at the accuracy of this book's tone and feeling. A great novel! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy O | 11/16/2013

    " This book is about morals, conviction, emotions, but more than anything else it is about blind righteousness. A very interior kind of a book, and sort of a thriller of the mind. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathi | 11/14/2013

    " I had a really hard time getting through this book and thought about giving up on it several times. I just didn't find the characters particularly appealing and the story just seemed to drag. The last couple chapters were good - they saved this from a completely crappy review! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 6/18/2013

    " Good plot -- kept me reading to find out how it all would end. Made me look at medical research differently. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 6/4/2013

    " I like books where I can imagine their setting--this one is set in a Cambridge research lab, so the characters are all over Cambridge and Boston throughout. It's a good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 4/3/2013

    " I found this book to be interesting. A twist on the typical plot in that the central infidelity is scientific but twists all the relationships. A different focus than a lot of the books out there but we'll written and layered. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Connie | 3/14/2013

    " This book was just ok. I was somewhat bored and only finished because it was short. I had hoped that the ending would make it better. But again, just not that great of a story line. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 2/9/2013

    " so so. lots of energy at the beginning. fell short at the end with so much gong over the facts. seldom do i read a novel about the high brow in scientific research and i can see why it might appeal in certain circles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicola | 11/11/2012

    " Interesting look into the scientific research world, and a page turner, but ultimately unsatisfying... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 8/10/2012

    " As a former Biology student, I really appreciated the author's attention to science/research details throughout this novel. A very unique read; I finished it very quickly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 8/1/2012

    " This book was somewhat interesting but never turned into one of those gotta-read-it page turners for me. It was breezy and well written, but some of the literary parts I couldn't help but feel were somewhat juvenile for the subject material that was being covered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 7/25/2012

    " A mystery novel about fraud in prominent scientific labs in Boston. Especially fun if you have worked in the field. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suneeta | 5/26/2012

    " The story of postdocs working in a lab on what could be break through research to cure cancer. I had a hard time getting through this book. The story didn't flow so well, too much technical lab stuff that I found boring. I finished it just to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cristin | 3/18/2012

    " A look inside a cancer research lab. This book describes well how the politics, emotions and personalities of science often dictate discoveries more so than the actual facts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 6/2/2011

    " it was an interesting look into the world of academic research and i was invested in the characters, but nothing really happened in the story. anti-climactic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 5/31/2011

    " I kept waiting for something exciting to happen but it never really did. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Claire | 5/31/2011

    " This book was very well written, but there was no ending. There was no closure. I wasn't a huge fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/26/2011

    " I loved this book, both because of the writing and the premise. Goodman usually writes (quite beautifully) about Jewish families and their intricacies, but this one was a bit of a departure into academia. Highly recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 4/10/2011

    " I enjoyed this book, although not as much as The Cookbook Collector. Set in a lab, Intuition follows a group of scientists and how they come together and fall apart after one of their own challenges amazing research results. The characters are sad, but the books language was wonderful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 3/30/2011

    " Fascinating plot exposing the pressures of the world of research. Anyone involved in graduate or university life will appreciate the temptations, hours and anxiety of the post doc student characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 3/19/2011

    " Who doesn't like a book about the quirkiness of academics and academia? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stantontas | 3/14/2011

    " I liked this. Morally muddy, non-simplistic novel that works as a thriller. Bonus points for being the only book I can think of that features believable, non-cipher scientist characters. People rather than plot devices. And nicely written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia | 1/27/2011

    " A little slow at the beginning, but a page-turner for most of it. "

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About the Author

Allegra Goodman’s novels include Intuition and Kaaterskill Falls. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker and Best American Short Stories. She is a winner of the Whiting Writer’s Award and a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.