Is Richard Powers Evan Dara?

Novelists Richard Powers and Evan Dara are often grouped together because they both write lengthy, info-packed narratives that draw heavily from science. Some have even gone so far to speculate that Powers is Dara. For an example of this, see Steve Russillo's page documenting his reading of Dara's second novel, The Easy Chain (see our review here):

And speaking of speaking Dutch, let me be the first to posit that if
Evan Dara isn't a distinct individual but a pseudonym, that the
pseudonym belongs to Richard Powers. So much detailed discussion of the
Netherlands (and specifically the Dutch language) abundant scientific
details, few chapter breaks, AND if you've read Power's book Gain and the Lost Scrapbook, I challenge you to miss the astonishing similarities in story and feel. (Lost Scrapbook's release predates Gain's
by just over 2 1/2 years, so it might just be that Powers is massively
influenced by Dara. But it wouldn't surprise me, is all.) [28SEP08 Addendum:
Near the top of page 172: the first and only appearance in the
narrative of the novel's title occurs shortly after the italicized line
"What could be easier?" Which is either an homage to Powers's Gold Bug Variations
("What could be simpler?" is not only the first sentence of GBV but is,
essentially, the last line as well.) or just another small but
interesting coincidence.]

Powers did in fact blurb Dara's first book, and he seems to be a fan (as does William T. Vollmann). However, I have to highly doubt the Powers/Dara speculation. First of all, let's just wield Occam's razor and conclude that the similarities between their interests are more likely to be due to mutual influences or mutual circumstances than pseudonyms.

But there's another reason why I don't think they're the same person: if Richard Powers could write like Evan Dara, I don't see why he'd write like Richard Powers. I don't mean to knock Powers, whom I regard as a very solid novelist, but Dara's stylistic abilities are far more advanced than his. If Powers really is Dara, then he has no business writing anything more as Powers.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. The Gaddis-esque Evan Dara Tom LeClaire turns in a great review in the new Bookforum, conferring some attention on the neglected Evan Dara, whom he compares to Gaddis: When...
  2. Richard Powers Formal patterning has always been a predominant feature of Richard Powers’s fiction. Powers doesn’t so much tell stories (although his fiction has plenty of narrative...
  3. Brewing Richard Powers Debate I haven’t read The Echo Maker yet, so I can’t comment, but two bloggers have some words for William Deresiewicz after he slams The Echo...
  4. Powers Speaks A few weeks ago, I posted an excerpt from an interview where Richard Powers explained that he creates his books not by writing, but by...
  5. Green on Powers Using William Deresiewicz’s attack on Richard Powers in The Nation as a sprinboard, Dan Green discusses Powers’s lastest novel. Although Dan scarcely likes the book...

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Funny theory, but if you take into account the fact that Dara lived for years in Paris while Powers was giving classes in the US, it becomes hard to believe. Add to that that one speak French and the other not. I know someone who spoke to both…

I read and enjoyed both of Dara’s novels and just assumed he didn’t give public readings or want to be in the public, which is certainly fine. I would like to see some of his short fiction at some point if he ever writes any.

I want to find Evan Dara.

Well, Powers *was* born in EVANston, IL. haha

The filmmaker who did Stone Reader should try to find Dara.

Dara just published his third novel, entitled “Flee.” http://aurora148.com/flee.php

More grist for the mystery mill.

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