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The Echo Maker Paperback – Bargain Price, August 21, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not sure why literary critics like books like this. The plot is interesting and weaves, in Mr. Powers' normal fashion, elements of life, science, and philosophy in an articulate manner. However in his past books I always had the feeling that Mr. Powers really had a gut understanding of the science and was able to reflect on it in such a way as to make us see the relevance to everyday lives; this is not the case with `The Echo Maker.' You more or less get the feeling that the science, neurophysiology in this case, was a `cut and paste' from Web sites. Also at least some of the information about Sandhill Cranes, an important part of the plot, was either out of date or misinformed.
Having said all this I still recommend this book for many reasons. Richard Powers is in my opinion, one of the very best novelists writing in America today. His work is solid and will stand the test of time. Why his much superior previous works were not given the attention of this one I attribute more to the strange tastes of the literati than to Powers' talent. Obviously some Amazon readers really liked this book and one review said the important thing to me; if this is the first Richard Powers' book you read it will likely make you want to read more.
THE ECHO MAKER considers these and other hefty questions within the framework of a sophisticated story about a young Nebraska slaughterhouse machine mechanic, Mark Schluter, who suffers head injuries when his truck overturns at eighty miles an hour. When he awakens from a coma, his only surviving family -- his sister -- is a stranger to him. This is not a case of "typical" amnesia. He remembers his sister, but he feels no affinity or love for, no connection to, the woman in his hospital room who looks like her. He has the same impostor feeling about his faithful dog. Diagnosed with the extremely rare condition called Capgras syndrome, he soon attracts the attention of world-renown cognitive neurologist, Gerald Weber, who comes to interview and test Mark.
As the novel progresses, Mark, sister Karin, and Gerald grapple with dissolving and re-forming self images. Mark's deficit evolves over a year's time, so Capgras doesn't become his only claim to fame in the medical literature. But perhaps even more interesting are the psychological convulsions that jolt Karin and Weber as they react to Mark's rearranging personality.
We meet Weber's wife, two buddies of Mark's, the men in Karin's life, a nurse's aide who makes an indelible impact on just about everyone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr. Powers has a firm grasp on the English language and clearly loves to use it. I submit that it might be an overuse. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Danny Wright
This was a very good book group discussion novel. The characters were interesting and the nature writing was especially beautiful.Published 5 months ago by BJ from Iowa
Don't...Just Don't. The author was trying to compensate for something. You don't need a hyperbole in every paragraph. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Denise A. Jensen
A great story and well-written. However, the descriptive details were beyond the pale. Page after page...after dreary, mind-numbing page of Mark's brain in a coma... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Echo Maker will be a book I will remember....not sure why. Hard to follow writer's ideas. Too much medical language. I fell asleep many times. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Leta M. Edde
400 pages too long. Not enough tension for a mystery. Not enough depth for a family novel. Not enough love for a romance story. 400 pages its the same dialogue over and over. Read morePublished 10 months ago by mike oconnor
Interesting book but got too weighed down in minutia about brain science.Published 11 months ago by harelover
Huge disappointment. This book was so painful - the plot is plodding and horrifically slow. Several reviews say there is a surprise ending that has to do with a minor character -... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Chicago