Everything is rising or falling in The Cookbook Collector: internet stocks, the value of old books, men in love, women out of redwoods, and twin towers. Although Random House advertises it as Sense and Sensibility for the digital age, it is more a novel of ideas than of characters. Goodman's first two books, The Family Markowitz and Kaaterskill Falls, were thickly settled works of domestic fiction. Her last two, Intuition and The Cookbook Collector, are concerned with the worlds of work as well. In scope and theme, she is more Dickensian, though she remains, like Austen, concerned with love, friendship, and the difference between the two. Goodman delves into women's private lives in this novel, but with well-nigh manly scope, she also goes public.
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