Long for this world

by Michael Byers

Hardcover, 2003




Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003.


A powerful novel pitting medical dilemmas against human emotion

Media reviews

New Books
A long book (432 large pages) written by the son of a research geneticist, living in Seattle. The plots involve a disease that brings rapid senility to children, who will not survive beyond their teens; the ethics of the proper procedure following research discoveries; property dealings in Seattle;
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and problems of US adolescents. As a matronly English lay reader, I found the medical jargon and company dealings baffling, as well as the teenagers' idioms. The most interesting of the story-lines tails off, not properly resolved, and the solution to the mystery proposed is never given.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member mbergman
Set in Seattle at the peak of the dot-com boom, it's a time and place where greed repulses & tempts the nice, decent middle-class family at the heart of the story: middle-aged parents with a teenaged son & daughter. The 17-year-old daughter, a 6'1" basketball player & straight-A student, and the
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14-year-old son are trying to find their place in the world, experimenting at low level, in age-appropriate ways, with sex--and talking to their parents, in mutually respectful but cautious & not fully open ways. The mother, a native Austrian, is frustrated with a sense of lack of accomplishment in her work as a hospital administrator, takes up running, & otherwise, like her kids, tries to define or redefine herself. But the plot line that most drives the narrative involves the work of the father, a geneticist who specializes in research on a rare disease that causes children to age rapidly & die by their mid-teens. He stumbles across a potential cure--one that may even have the potential to slow or halt the aging process in normal humans. He faces a series of ethical dilemmas, but the author keeps them relatively low-key & they never displace the domestic relationships. If that sometimes means the story moves slowly, it also makes for a refreshingly honest portrait of a decent, talented, professional family, presenting life from the perspective of each member of the family.
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LibraryThing member karenzukor
One of my favorites. A doctor struggles with a patient, and his reaseach, while dealing with family issues.



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