A Few Days in Bremen
In the northern suburbs there is a different feel
I was there to give a talk about my book at the Fiction Meets Science Workshop at the Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), at the University of Bremen.
Carbon Dreams which I read before I went, and this helped me appreciate what I was seeing in the basement. Carbon Dreams is the absorbing story of a research chemist making a geochemical discovery. The sacrifices and life-choices that she has to make to devote herself to her idea are convincing and drive the story along. It described an era I knew well, and I recognised many features of life in the laboratory which was very satisfying because 'lablife' is rarely evoked so accurately in literature. One sequence, which described going out on a scientific cruise ship, brought to mind one of the T.C. Boyle books I'd read recently: When the Killing's Done.
The conference continued the next day at the Institute for Advanced Study, which is a little outside Bremen.
Mendel's Dwarf. Mendel's Dwarf, I've just read, was 10th in line for the Booker Prize, and I am not surprised. It features Gregor Mendel, the priest who discovered genetics, and his fictitious descendent who happens to be a geneticist and a dwarf. As Wilfried Wackernagel, an Emeritus professor of genetics at the university of Oldenburg, said - there are diamonds (references to genetics) scattered throughout.
I learnt a lot during the two days, and found the whole event exciting and stimulating because there were so many ideas and good speakers.
Thanks and Congratulations to Susan Gaines for organising the event. I hope it has a successful outcome.