Review of The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

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Thanks to my literary counselor, Kathy, I latched onto the novel “The Echo Maker” by Richard Powers. The book has been amply reviewed (NY Times, EW, Margaret Atwood at NYRB) and rewarded (Pulitzer Prize finalist). And if you want a quick insight into the book, try Wikipedia’s entry.

The story has three great points to it:

  • a very vivid description of the frailty of life in today’s society
    a very appropriate rendering of life after September 11th — unheroic, unglorified.
  • and, finally, a whole new unexplored territory for me to learn about in the form of rare neurological disorders (beyond Capgras Syndrome which was a discovery unto itself).

Aside from the gory details of middle America as portrayed through the lives of Mark and [fake-] sister Karin Schluter, the more salient character is a cognitive neurologist-cum-author, Dr. Gerald Weber who slides down and takes a wrong turn himself. His life and career epitomize the challenges of commerce … in medical field. And, throughout the book, in a parallel universe, you find out about the world of the migratory Sandhill Cranes where again commercial ends intervene in our interaction with nature. My one regret with the book is that the final reveal was too shallow and quick. Made me want to read on!

The book is novel, gripping and poignant. A very good read. And as if you needed any more encouragement, go buy at Amazon.

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