Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Echo Maker

Title: The Echo Maker
Author: Richard Powers
Vintage, 2007 (2006)

This novel was the National Book Award Winner of 2006, and that's no surprise! Some books can be about anything because a supreme language and narrative voice can make any story interesting. The Echo Maker has that, but the plot still transcends its form. Here, the brain and its myriad meandering ways is the real protagonist.

A young man ends up in a coma after a mysterious high-speed car crash. His only living relative, his beloved sister, rushes to his side, but when the man wakes up, he thinks she is an imposter posing as his sister. The sister calls in a famous neuro-scientist to help her brother, but eventually, they all end up disoriented as to who they are. The story is set in Nebraska and the migrating cranes of the region serve as a parallell to the three characters' sense of loss. Any drawbacks? Could be shorter. But, then again, I almost always say that.

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