Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

Literary fiction, Hardcover, 464 pages

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2006)


Lots of suspense with well-developed characters. A man suffers Capgras syndrome after an accident. His brain cannot match his visual and intellectual identifications with his emotional ones. He insists that the woman who claims to be his sister is an impostor. She consults a national expert on neurology to solve this dilemma, while the accident victim continues to reject her and waits for his "real sister" to show up. His sister is the only family he has. The clinical details are fascinating and Powers makes them as easy to understand as Oliver Sacks would. Local bird sanctuaries also figure prominently in the story and have much to tell us. Powers writes beautifully. I defy anyone to read the first few paragraphs here and not want to read this book. An excellent story. This novel is a National Book Award winner and a Pultzer Prize finalist. Four and a half stars out of five. Highly recommended.

11 comments:

  1. I read this book right after it was first released. I enjoyed it also. Great review Sandra.

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  2. This book sounds fascinating and details about birds would be a bonus for me.

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  3. I read this book a few months ago and i still remember it vividly. It is an excellent read, even though not the easiest one. It definitely stays with you for a while.

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  4. Hum, this sounds like an intersting story and I'm curious about how the birds come into it.

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  5. I never heard of this one before, but the story is intriguing! Thanks for the review! :)

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  6. Sounds good!

    I gave you a blog award:

    http://booksandmovies.today.com/2009/04/11/passing-on-the-bloggy-love/

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  7. I loved your review and I've put this book on my must read for this year!!! Thanks for highlighting it today!!

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  8. So glad to see this review! I'm reading this next month as one of my last books for the Book Awards Challenge, and now I'm really looking forward to it!

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  9. I read this book awhile back when it first came out at the recommendation of a member of my book club. She hadn't had much like with it and neither did I. I loved the first half but after that it just dragged for me. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  10. Sandra -- thanks for sharing your review with me.

    I just finished this book last week. I went from being bowled over by it and loving it absolutely, to finally thinking it went on just a little too long. But, overall, I enjoyed it and am very glad I read it.

    But I think I rushed the ending a little because I can't drop the idea that he failed to tie up a loose end. Without giving away the story -- how did Powers explain how the note writer knew that the one person "spared" would "bring back someone else"? Powers scientifically explains every detail of brain stuff -- but the note-writer's prediction seems completely magical.

    What did I miss?

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  11. Did you read his other books? I found them far superior to this one. ...which is not to say I didn't like this one. He is so intellectually stimulating. I'd say he's the only author I run out and get in hardback when I find he has a new book!

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