Mendel's Dwarf

Publication Date: Dec 11, 2012

336 pp


List Price US $10.99
ISBN: 9781590516249

Like his great-great-great-uncle, geneticist Gregor Mendel, Dr. Benedict Lambert struggles to unlock the secrets of heredity and genetic determinism. However, Benedict’s mission is particularly urgent and particularly personal, for he was born with achondroplasia–he’s a dwarf. He’s also a man desperate for love and acceptance, and when he finds both in Jean, a shy librarian, he stumbles upon an opportunity to correct the injustice of his own, at least to him, unlucky genes.

Entertaining and tender, this witty and surprisingly erotic novel reveals the beauty and drama of scientific inquiry as it informs us of the simple passions against which even the most brilliant mind is rendered powerless.

Excerpt from Mendel’s Dwarf

“A grand scientific adventure and a tragic human love story…as idiosyncratic and mysterious in its own way as the first gene.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Simon Mawer writes beautifully, and the pleasure of his novel comes from the chance to watch him consider the mystery of the world, to report on the clarity with which nature speaks to us.” —New York Times Book Review

“Furious, tender, and wittily erudite.” —New Yorker
Mendel’s Dwarf is intelligent, ambitious, ferocious.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A remarkable performance. Lambert’s voice is distinctive, unique, and often downright chilling; it grabs you by the throat.” —Washington Post

“Hypersmart and delectably stylish.” —Esquire

“A gripping, life-and-death exploration…in [an] intricate and flawless plot. In Mawer’s ingenious tale, Benedict’s life and that of his great-great-great-uncle Mendel criss-cross and interweave, heightening the reader’s understanding of both men’s minds and of the intricate beauty of fundamental genetics.” —The Times (London)

Mendel’s Dwarf is an improbably, bittersweet, and wonderful novel about the science of genetics and life…[the] story will grow and stay with the reader long after the book is put aside.” —Detroit Free Press

“Dark, funny, bitter…the ethical dilemmas of modern genetic research in a love story that lurches from sharp humor to jaw-dropping sadness…a marvelous read.” —The Independent (London)

“An acidly funny, achingly sad love story.” —The Voice Literary Supplement

“[A] heartening—and heightening—tale.” —People

“Dangerously clever…a lively, engaging narrative.  Sophisticated, tortured, and witty, Lambert is a character on the grand scale, a combination of erudition and cruelty reminiscent of Nabokov’s Humbert Humber.  And like Humbert, Lambert is tortured by an impossible, unrequited love, which ultimately drives the novel to a tragic, shockingly cruel denouement.  [Mawer] is a poetic, masterful explorer of hidden motives, erotic desire, divided loyalties.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Simon Mawer has written a gripping tale of scientific intrigue and moral uncertainty…In this novel, he brings to life the ethical dilemmas inherent in genetic science far more vividly than any article about cloned sheep.” —Baltimore Sun

“Mawer weaves a story that is in turns compassionate, erotic, and angry…A wonderfully crafted, thought-provoking tale in which the science never gets in the way of the story; highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“Benedict, Mendel, and genetic science create a unique tension, with clever prose, and the author’s insight into human sadness turning it all into something truly profound.” —Booklist

Mendel’s Dwarf is an extraordinary novel, a work of history, science, pure prose, and persuasive stunning irony, that explores the depths of the human heart.  Through its narrator, a geneticist who is himself a dwarf, it give brilliant focus to the essential horrors of our century along with its narrative perfection has at its heart a dark and luminous kinship with such tales as Beauty and the Beast and Kafka’s Metamorphosis.  It is a novel of dire magnificence.” —John Hawkes, author of The Frog