Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Powers (The Time of Our Singing ), who has won a Lannan Literary Award and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, here investigates the mystery of traumatic brain injury. Set in small-town Nebraska near the bird-watching spectacle of Platte River, Powers's ninth novel centers on the life of 27-year-old Mark Schluter, who is unable to recognize his sister, Karin, after suffering a near-fatal accident. Desperate for clarity, Karin turns to world-renowned cognitive neurologist and writer Gerald Weber (reminiscent of the real-life Oliver Sacks). Cleverly, this novel isn't simply about Mark's damaged brain (he appears to suffer from a rare case of Capgras syndrome); instead, it sheds light generally on the human mind and our struggle to make sense of both the past and the present. Echo Maker is both mystery and case history as Mark struggles to investigate his accident through an anonymous note and Weber attempts to sort through the nuance and plasticity of the mind in his own declining years. Powers bounces back and forth through Mark's rambling thoughts, Weber's neurological theories, Karin's insecurities, and wonderfully poetic details of the cranes on the Platte River. Recommended for large public libraries.-Stephen Morrow, Columbus, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Late one night, near the Platte River in Kearney, Nebraska, where the sandhill cranes pause every year in their spectacular migration, Mark Schluter flips his truck. Brain damaged, he develops Capgras syndrome, which makes him think that his sister, Karin, is an impostor. Despondent at Mark's constant requests to produce his real sister, Karin writes a letter to Gerald Weber, a cognitive neurologist whose case histories of bizarre brain disorders have best-selling appeal (think Oliver Sacks). Weber, who is suffering a very different kind of identity crisis himself, agrees to examine Mark. Powers has taken the primal question--Who am I? --and traced it to its chemical elements, exploring the ways the mind constructs smooth narratives out of messy reality. But his investigation is larger than the individual, leading him to explore how humans as a species smooth out the rough spots, tuning out the natural world, straying from the instincts that might keep us alive on our own long journey. Powers has complete command of storytelling skills, building questions of both plot and philosophy so deftly that, in their denouemont, there is no surprise, only recognition. A remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it. --Keir Graff Copyright 2006 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

When Karin's brother emerges from a coma after a serious car accident, he refuses to acknowledge Karin as his sister. Powerful stuff from an award-winning author. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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A truck jackknifes off an "arrow straight country road" near Kearney, Nebr., in Powers's ninth novel, becoming the catalyst for a painstakingly rendered minuet of self-reckoning. The accident puts the truck's 27-year-old driver, Mark Schluter, into a 14-day coma. When he emerges, he is stricken with Capgras syndrome: he's unable to match his visual and intellectual identifications with his emotional ones. He thinks his sister, Karin, isn't actually his sister-she's an imposter (the same goes for Mark's house). A shattered and worried Karin turns to Gerald Weber, an Oliver Sacks-like figure who writes bestsellers about neurological cases, but Gerald's inability to help Mark, and bad reviews of his latest book, cause him to wonder if he has become a "neurological opportunist." Then there are the mysteries of Mark's nurse's aide, Barbara Gillespie, who is secretive about her past and seems to be much more intelligent than she's willing to let on, and the meaning of a cryptic note left on Mark's nightstand the night he was hospitalized. MacArthur fellow Powers (Gold Bug Variations, etc.) masterfully charts the shifting dynamics of Karin's and Mark's relationship, and his prose-powerful, but not overbearing-brings a sorrowful energy to every page. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved