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You Lost Me There [Kindle Edition]

Rosecrans Baldwin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

A dazzling debut that is at once a lightly erudite novel of ideas and a darkly charming love story set on an island off the coast of Maine-the perfect sophisticated summer read.

By turns funny, charming, and tragic, Rosecrans Baldwin's debut novel takes us inside the heart and mind of Dr. Victor Aaron, a leading Alzheimer's researcher at the Soborg Institute on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Victor spends his days alternating between long hours in the sterile lab and running through memories of his late wife, Sara. He has preserved their marriage as a sort of perfect, if tumultuous, duet between two opposite but precisely compatible souls.

But one day, in the midst of organizing his already hyperorganized life, Victor discovers a series of index cards covered in Sara's handwriting. They chronicle the major "changes in direction" of their marriage, written as part of a brief fling with couples counseling. Sara's version of their great love story is markedly different from his own, which, for the eminent memory specialist, is a startling revelation. Victor is forced to reevaluate and relive each moment of their marriage, never knowing is the revisions will hurt or hearten. Meanwhile, as Victor's faith in memory itself unravels, so too does his precisely balanced support network, a group of strong women-from his lab assistant to Aunt Betsy, doddering doyenne of the island-that had, so far, allowed him to avoid grieving.

Rosecrans Baldwin shows himself here to be a young writer bursting with talent and imagination who deftly handles this aching love story with sensitivity and unexpected maturity. You Lost Me There is a treasure of a book filled with beautiful, intelligent prose, a book that wears its smarts lightly and probes its emotions deeply.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A famed neuroscientist learns potent lessons about the fallibility of memory in Baldwin's underwhelming debut, a highbrow melodrama that stretches for resonance and is narrated by noted Alzheimer's researcher Dr. Victor Aaron, who works at a small but prestigious Maine lab and grieves the death of his screenwriter wife, Sara. Victor finds a series of note cards that recount key moments in their 33-year marriage, but Victor's memories of the same events are either missing or differ, and it becomes clear there were longstanding issues in the marriage--notably that Victor felt threatened by Sara's success and wasn't supportive of her work. Victor does the normal confused and grieving middle-aged man things--becomes fixated on his laments, takes a younger lover--and eventually finds himself hosting his goddaughter, Cornelia, who inadvertently provides the clue that allows Victor to discover Sara's final, unfinished screenplay. Sara's perspective--here limited to her note cards--is affecting and provides the novel its best moments. Unfortunately, readers are stuck for the most part with Victor, whose unsympathetic culpability and fundamental blandness sap narrative energy and make much of the novel feel like filler.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Months after his wife, Sara, is killed in a car accident, Dr. Victor Aaron is still in the throes of mourning, although he has rather peculiar ways of showing it. By day, Aaron functions as a dedicated lab rat, heading groundbreaking research and trolling for corporate grants. By night, he conducts a sexually intense but ultimately unsatisfying affair with a considerably younger graduate student named Regina, whom he pursues to the point of stalking. Further complicating his recovery are his weekly command-performance dinners with his wife's elderly aunt Betsy and the sudden appearance of his goddaughter, Cornelia, who moves in with him while interning at a local restaurant. Amid the chaos, Aaron spends his insomnia-fueled nights combing through Sara's belongings until the discovery of a series of disturbing notes, in which she chronicled the tumultuous years of their marriage, sends him into further despair. Baldwin's manic debut novel delivers a capricious, poignant, yet oddly perceptive account of the quixotic nature of relationships and the fallacies of memory. --Carol Haggas

Product Details

  • File Size: 425 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594485240
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (August 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,739 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the isolated Soborg Institute off the coast of Maine, obsessive geneticist Victor Aaron works tirelessly to make a breakthrough in Alzheimer's research with his capable, motley crew of colleagues. Since his wife, Sara, died several years ago, he has walled himself off emotionally from relationships, frustrating his twenty-five year-old girlfriend, Regina, a research fellow and budding poet. He is fifty-eight and suffering from impotence. She is a potent, burlesque-loving young woman that dances naked for him on their routine weekly rendezvous. They keep a regular regimen of Fridays and a secret email exchange at work.

Victor's links to his dead wife include a series of index cards that she left behind, detailing the various vectors of their thirty-odd year marriage, and her octogenarian Aunt Betsy, the bellicose island doyenne. He pencils in a regular Friday supper with Aunt Betsy following his Friday afternoon failures with Regina. He compartmentalizes his relationships and quarantines his heart, wallowing in melancholy over his loss. The troubled arc of his marriage left a wake of unsettled issues that Victor is trying to stitch together from their memories. Sara's index cards tell a story that threatens to unhinge him completely.

The novel contains some elaborate observations on life, particularly memories.
"Some theories said the most accurate memory was one that's never recalled. The more the mind retells a story, the more that story hardens into a basic shape, where by remembering one detail we push ten others below the surface and construct the memory touch by touch. A sculpture between the neurons that looks like its model, just not completely."

As a philosophical writer of tart reflections, Baldwin has a pungent flair.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce Willis gets all literary! August 11, 2010
Bruce Willis. Die Hard. "Moonlighting"

How often do you run into Mr. Willis and his oeuvre in literary fiction? He may not appear frequently (maybe not at all) yet he fits in perfectly with this substantial and insightful novel about memor by Rosecrans Baldwin. You Lost Me There is a complicated story, with twists and surprises and feinted paths, as well as scientific details about disease and the research to fight it. Beyond the serious details, it is a fun novel as well, thus Bruce Willis references prevail throughout the story and with surprising relevancy.

"Years in the past, someone thought my wife was a knockout, one night long ago in a restaurant. A night I didn't remember."

So realizes Victor Aaron, a brilliant scientist who is now realizing just how ignorant he's been. In the time since his wife's fatal car accident, he's been lost and unable to find his way, too young to retire but too old to feel any real enthusiasm for his life or work. As a scientist researching Alzheimer's disease, he's enthralled with the concept of memory and works to find a cure. His work gives him opportunities to study case histories on how the brain is wired, and the novel doesn't hesitate to dip into scientific explanations. That the memory specialist is unable to recall much about his wife, anything accurate, is a puzzle he needs to solve.

He stumbles upon note cards that his wife had written, as suggested by a marriage counselor they had hired, in an effort to stall what appeared to be an inevitable divorce. Their marriage had become a quiet battle of pathos versus logos, with a bit of ethos thrown in by crazy Aunt Betsy. Aunt Betsy appears to be the voice of balance in the novel, even though she is described by Victor as "an amateur anthropologist...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What happens when your memories can't be trusted? September 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this story, about an Alzheimer's researcher and the wife he lost in a car accident, not only interesting but touching. It is not a happy story nor, for me, was it a weepy one. At it's core, it was the story of a man who knows all about the brain but little about emotion. In fact, a wounded ex-girlfriend accuses him of having "Alzheimer's of the emotions."

Victor spent his life so consumed with his work that the rest of his life went on without him; except he doesn't realize it. He thinks he had a good life and a happy (if sometimes troubled) marriage. After his wife dies in an accident, he finds notes she had left behind--not TO him, but ABOUT him--an exercise assigned by a marriage counseler they'd seen in the past.

Through these cards, Victor realizes that his life, his wife, his marriage...none of it was what he thought it was. Here, this expert in the brain and its memories comes to the jarring realization that his recollections about his wife, Sara, their marriage and particular events in their lives may not be accurate. This revelation, as well as some of the profoundly hurtful things Sara says about him on the cards, shake him to the core and magnify the grief of her loss.

I usually have a hard time getting through a book where some characters are so unlikeable but, for whatever reason, that didn't bother me much in this book (though Aunt Betsy did get on my nerves). Unlike a lot of books I've read this year, the cast of characters here is blessedly short--only about half a dozen. They are all colorful and flawed characters--some more than others.

The writing is quite good, and keeps the story flowing very well. I never had a problem staying interested in this story--I was always eager to pick it up from the nightstand. Be prepared for this story to make you think about whether your relationships are really as they seem.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
ok, but not rivetting
Published 5 months ago by Barbara H.
2.0 out of 5 stars Unmemorable
Borrowed this on a whim as a library ebook, chiefly because the author's name was cool, secondly because the synopsis sounded like it could be good. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. McCaskill
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but inconsistent and empty
The underlying meaning behind this story is trotted out extensively: sometimes ambition leads to a loss of connection to even your most intimate relationships. Read more
Published 18 months ago by alex bushman
3.0 out of 5 stars A story of loss and coping, memory and mis-remembering
Rosecrans Baldwin has crafted a story of loss and coping and memory and mis-remembering. He tells the story of Victor Aarons, a researcher who is seeking clues to a cure for... Read more
Published on January 2, 2013 by elizabeth a shaw
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as Paris
I SO loved Paris I Love You but this was disappointing. I gave up at about the one-third mark. Rats.
Published on September 21, 2012 by Janet Kotler
5.0 out of 5 stars moving, insightful
This is a well written and compelling story that explores memory and love from many angles. As someone who has spent many years in a Neuroscience lab, I appreciated the author's... Read more
Published on August 11, 2012 by JKK
4.0 out of 5 stars What makes a memory?
First of all, how friggin' cool is the name Rosecrans Baldwin? Definitely begs for some notoriety, don't you think? Read more
Published on August 10, 2012 by Larry Hoffer
3.0 out of 5 stars Island
Some relationships remain strong because of the power of shared memories. What happens when one's memory of certain events varies from the recollection of a loved one who was... Read more
Published on August 2, 2011 by Stephen T. Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, yet touching read.
What a touching story about a relationship over time. If you have ever had a loved one touched by Alzheimer's, you will understand the connections. Read more
Published on May 25, 2011 by Sally Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars This book
passed a particular personal test of mine with flying colors: I wanted to press it into the hands of many people I know! Read more
Published on March 31, 2011 by J. DAVIDSON
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More About the Author

Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of "Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down" (GQ's Best Books of 2012) and "You Lost Me There" (NPR's Best Books 2010, New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice). His next novel is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

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