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The Echo Maker: A Novel Kindle Edition
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"Powers may be America's most ambitious novelist." --Kevin Berger, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"To read his work is to be wowed by his verbal muscularity. . .admirable. . .wonderfully original." --Meg Wolitzer, The New York Times Book Review
"Richard Powers is the child prodigy of American fiction . . . by 34 he had published three novels equaling the intellectual rigor and range of that '60s prodigy, Thomas Pynchon." --Tom LeClair, USA Today
"One of our few indispensable literary talents." --Charles B. Harris, Review of Contemporary Fiction
"Powers may be the smartest novelist writing today." --Albert Mobilio, The Village
About the Author
Richard Powers is the author of numerous novels and has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction.
Bernadette Dunne is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn.--This text refers to the mp3_cd edition.
- File size : 729 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 468 pages
- Publication date : April 1, 2007
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (April 1, 2007)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B000QCTMQ0
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #122,327 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Many readers have dismissed this novel as either being "too long" and "a story that should have been written in 100 lines". I, however, disagree. Yes, Powers uses a good amount of the novel to introduce a myriad of different psychological illnesses, but this is meant to relate to the nature of cognition and identity which the narrative is all about. One of the characters in the novel is a neuroscientist named Gerald Weber, a man who writes books about his case histories which involve a plethora of people who suffer from neurological disorders. This is meant to show how the human brain functions and how we humans cannot will ourselves to be the people we want to be; nor are we capable to perceive what we want to believe or see. Dr. Weber is hired by Mark's sister to find out what is wrong with him, and his knowledge of Mark's condition pushes his (Weber) ideas of the brain to a point where it nearly destroys not only his professional but personal life.
Mark Schluter believes that his Sister is an imposter. He believes this to be the case since his cortex (the rational part of the human brain) is not working correctly with his amygdala and limbic system (the part of the brain where emotions and memories are stored). Mark's mental defect also leads him to believe that his car crash was planned by the Government to control him. This is important to consider since the novel takes place during the buildup of 9/11, which adds a whole new level of paranoia and uncertainty to the nature of the novel.
There are a few sideplots to the novel that add spice to the underlying narrative. One involving Karin's boyfriend Daniel, a nature lover who is part of a nature conservatory, is trying to battle investors who are wanting to build an amusement park on the Platte River where the sandhill cranes come every year to eat and prepare for their migration. Mark is also interested in a note that was left by his bedside when he first enters the hospital from his accident, a letter that reads: I am No One, but Tonight on North Line Road, God lead me to you, so You could Live, and bring back someone else. And with all of his crazy delusions, Mark believes the person who wrote the note knows what caused his wreck that night in February. And the conclusion to the novel is something that quite literally changes the meaning of his life, even though his personality at this point is not his own.
The Echo Maker is a novel that will stab at your soul, it will challenge you to change your own personal beliefs of what the human mind is and how it affects the nature of us. Whether we are slaves to our emotions or not, one thing is for certain: We are our brains, and it controls us, not we who controls it.
In this case the mental condition of Mark Schluter is a central topic after he flips his truck on lonely piece of Nebraska roadway. He's changed and diagnosed with Capgrass Syndrome which we quickly learn means he believes people closest to him are actually imposters. This intriguing path is further explained as very rare for car accidents and thus draws attention from a noted celebrity neurologist.
The core of the story is a solid battle of relationships; Mark sister Karin desperate to help him and rebuffed by his illness. Then there is Gerald Webber whose writings on these topics makes him both respected and also viewed as somewhat of a voyeur.
The challenge for the reader is the off handed way that Powers introduces multiple, complex other mental illnesses that could also be part of Mark's problem. Some are quickly dispatched and others are layers into the Capgrass. It's a challenge to follow.
There is another whole story abut the migratory birds that come semi annually to the Platte River on the outskirts of Kearney NE and their own vulnerability exposed to the constant development shrinking their sanctuaries. The sensitivity and intelligence of the birds is often used to draw allusion to Mark and both his problems and gifts.
Overall this National Book Award winner is a complex read. It's interesting but somehow feeling a bit dated.