Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Andrew's Brain: A Novel (Random House Large Print) Paperback – Large Print, January 14, 2014
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2014: From the start of this magnificent novel, we’re told that “Andrew” has done bad things. “I am numb to my guilt … incapable of punishing myself,” he tells the unnamed man he calls “Doc.” The things we don’t know about these two men are numerous. Where is Andrew? Who’s he speaking with? A shrink? A cop? And why? It gives nothing away to state that the unraveling of those and other questions is what makes this such a strange and compelling page turner. Via the tense Godot-like conversation/interrogation, we’re slowly exposed to Andrew’s life. Or at least a version of it. “You don’t know everything about me, Doc, you’re only hearing what I choose to tell you,” Andrew says. And later: “We’re all Pretenders.” We learn Andrew gave up his daughter to an ex-wife after his second wife died on 9/11--an event that echoes menacingly throughout this wise, witty, and unnerving examination of truth and memory. The conversation between two people who clearly know each other well, but distrust each another more, keeps us on shifting ground throughout. We eventually learn of Andrew’s murky role in the basement of a post-9/11 White House, and his run-in with characters named Chaingang and Rumbum. “Jesus, I don’t know why I talk to you,” Andrew huffs more than once. Not until the final page do we discover, he must. --Neal Thompson --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*Starred Review* A man is talking about a friend, a cognitive scientist named Andrew, but it doesn’t take long for the person listening to him, possibly a psychoanalyst, to ask if he, in fact, is Andrew. He says he is. Furthermore, he reports that he’s numb to all emotions and that he hears voices. Worse yet, he’s been living under some sort of cosmic curse, unintentionally precipitating catastrophes right and left while he walks through the flames unscathed. There is much that is eerie and odd about Andrew’s exchanges with an unidentified, mostly silent interlocutor, and the stories he tells induce us to question his veracity and sanity. Did he cause a fatal car crash? An infant’s quiet death? A woman’s disappearance on 9/11? Did he drink cocktails with midgets? Hang out with the president during their Yale days? In stunning command of every aspect of this taut, unnerving, riddling tale, virtuoso Doctorow confronts the persistent mysteries of the mind—trauma and memory, denial and culpability—as he brings us back to one deeply scarring time of shock and lies, war and crime. Writing in concert with Twain, Poe, and Kafka, Doctorow distills his mastery of language, droll humor, well-primed imagination, and political outrage into an exquisitely disturbing, morally complex, tragic, yet darkly funny novel of the collective American unconscious and human nature in all its perplexing contrariness. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Andrew's reaction to this awful tragedy generates the substance of this entertaining and sometimes beautiful novel. Near its beginning, he says: "Deep down, at the bottom of my soul, if such exists, I am finally unmoved but what I've done. A faint tinge of regret for dead babies, for dead wives, for the fires I've inadvertently started, and all such disasters can make me run in my dreams to someplace where I can't do any harm, but in this waking life I am numb to my guilt."
But Andrew, in fact, was probably driven around the bend by the death of his baby daughter. And maybe all, or just parts of the tales he tells about his life after the tragedy--a second and perfect wife and little family, her unusual parents, his second tragic loss on 9/11, and his connection to the Bush White House--are imagined and his method of exploring and coping with his first tragedy.
Near the novel's end, Andrew, who is either institutionalized or a victim of extraordinary rendition, learns from his interlocutor that Willa, his daughter from his second marriage is twelve. This suggests that elements of his therapeutic stories are true. But which elements are real and which are inventions? The playful Doctorow doesn't exactly say.
At times, Andrew, a cognitive scientist, sounds like a mouthpiece for Doctorow, especially as he describes the dynamic between Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. "Chaingang and Rumbum were self-appointed world strategists. They had ranks of ideologues and think-tank warriors behind them. The president was only that... and at moments he had to feel outnumbered and outclassed. For every instance that he went along with their bidding, however persuasive and in accord with his own instincts, there had to be some resentment there, don't you think?"
Andrew also enjoys Mark Twain, whose work he shares with his second wife. Here, Andrew's Twain is primarily an old man oppressed by his life. "I see his frail grasp... his after-dinner guard let down and his upwardly mobile decency become vulnerable to his self-creation. And the woman he loved, gone, and a child he loved, gone, and he looks in the mirror and hates the pretense of his white hair and mustache and suit. He despairs of the likelihood that the world is his illusion, that he is but a vagrant mind in a futile drift through eternity." In this novel's final paragraph, Doctorow references Twain's plight and shows it has become a knife twisting in poor Andrews's brain.
I thought to myself "Where does this story go?" and "Why did he have this image in his head for so long?"- so I bought the book [the
Library copy our Lab Puppy, Milo, chewed up before I knew what he was doing [maybe he knew something I didn't !]. -so I reordered this on Amazon.
The story starts out OK- Man's wife dies and he has a small baby left to care for so he goes and 'stands outside and knocks on his
ex-wife's [Martha] door- to help him take care of the baby...
From there- it get's bizzare... and I had difficulty following this guys 'brain'.. [he's on a city street at a stop lite, and suddenly there is a spirit/ ghost [? ]saying to him "come and fix my screen door'- [which happens to be on a farm in the middle of nowhere !!!] ...
I skipped parts as I got really bored with 'Andrews Brain' and who he was...... "a loser in life, but OK as a teacher"
[who has multiple fantasies over a student in his class]...which get's boring and weird also...
Anyway, I found parts of the book interesting like someone was talking to me personally about their inner life-- but the majority of the book was too weird for me- illogical and strange...
I guess Milo our pup was telling me had 'a premonition' this wasn't my kind of book !...
Most recent customer reviews
disappointment. Hate to say it, but it was barely worth reading.Read more
second best thing is it's very short.
no payoff whatsoever.Read more