Bison

Daniil Aleksandrovich Granin, Author, Daniel Granin, Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-385-24753-5
The hero of this ``documentary novel,'' biologist Nikolai Timofeyev-Resovsky, was victimized for opposing Lysenkoism, the anti-Mandelian genetics movement that decimated Soviet biological science in the decades following the Revolution and damaged the country's agricultural economy as well. In the course of a long and stormy career, Timofeyev loses his son to the Gestapo while working in a German scientific institute, is thrown into a concentration camp by the Russians and, finally, establishes himself as a role model for young scientists in the U.S.S.R. This dramatic life history ought to add up to a gripping tale. Unfortunately, the narrative has a wooden quality that reminds the reader of the ``socialist realism'' school of Soviet art even though its point of view is opposed to the Party. Timofeyev is portrayed as a larger-than-lifesized cartoon whom the reader can't relate to emotionally. The large number of Russian and other European scientists, whose names flood the text but whose personae are not delineated, poses an additional problem for American readers. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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