Monday, December 11, 2006
The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
Powers’ new book (which just won the National Book Award) is about identity and what makes us who we are. A young guy, Mark Schluter, totals his truck on a straight stretch of highway and suffers brain damage resulting in Capgras Syndrome (a real neurological syndrome usually found in schizophrenics), which makes him believe that his sister isn’t really his sister, but is an imposter. His sister contacts an Oliver Sacks-type famous neurologist who gets involved in this unusual case while handling his own identity crisis. And there’s the nurse who seems over-qualified and overly-involved in Mark’s case. And there’s a cryptic note that was mysteriously left at Mark’s bedside while he was in the coma. Many questions, much complexity – but all very well-written and eventually resolved… It’s Powers doing what he does so well. (also see The Gold Bug Variations or on 2004-5 or All Fiction lists.) Check out this interview with Powers in The Believer.