I finished Gain by Richard Powers a few days ago. Powers, again, impresses me with his intellect and mastery of form. The two interlinking stories - Laura' cancer and Clare's history - is a device similar to the one he used in The Echo Maker, but it works. By elucidating the history Clare Soaps and illustrating the octopus like growth of the company (he includes charts), Powers was able to show how the original mission of cleansing and lighting was tainted and manipulated in the name of efficiency - the how could this happen in the reality of the never ending questions of "What is this in my ketchup?".
Before this novel I was a bit fanatical about chemicals, now I may need to be straight-jacketed. Laura's battle with ovarian cancer and the transformation of a family business into a chemical spewing megalith has sorely affected me. I'll be going to the doctor as soon as I can get an appointment.
Go out and get your yearly check-up!! If you need motivation, read this book.