The Echo Maker
Winner of the 2006 National Book Award
The Echo Maker is "a remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it" (Booklist, starred review).
On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter has a near-fatal car accident. His older sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark b...more
Okay, not really, no. Well, maybe a little...?
The best parts of this book were those written from the perspective of a character with severe traumatic brain injury. The rest of it was good too, but the characters were never quite convincing enough for me to suspend my disbelief and actually care what happened to them. Of course, I was helplessly distracted the entire time by the Man Behind the Curtain. Does Richard Powers do all his own research? W...more
Kearny, Nebraska is a way station on the central flyway, a place where thousands of cranes congregate every year on their way north and south, providing an industry for the town. The descriptions of the migr...more
This won the National Book Award last year, and is by an author who has received one of the MacArthur "genius awards." Did it deserve it?
In the end, I can't endorse the choice, even though there is much to commend in this book. The basic story: a Nebraska factory worker flips his truck on a cold winter night, and when he wakes up, he believes that his sister has been swapped...more
The story is backdropped against a small town that hosts a spectacular bird migration once a year. The hero is involved in a near-fatal car crash, from which he emerges from with Capgras syndrome; a disease which prevents him from recognizing his sister or his dog, instead believing them to be impostors impersonating the genuine articles. The novel follows them through his worseni...more
But. But! The book’s momentum (ie., plot) is very slow. Maybe it’s my mood (I LOVED the book Out of Africa...more
questions of self, such as are we who we think we are, and the key word here is think. Does the conscious self come from within, or is it merely an echo?
stories and narration – do humans live the story, that is, do we need to see or hear something before we incorporate it into our own self. Powers uses the mockingbird to demonstrate this in the novel.
is who w...more
I read it more than half way through (a very slow, painful experience really - and NOT because I was down with the flu at the time) and then decided that there never was a lamer story ... ever.
There is so much wrong with this book that I don't know where to begin. First of all, it is more a case-study than a thriller, and the only character of interest is Mark, the accident-victim...more
As a nascent cognitive neuroscientist, I'll have to admit that the name dropping of a slew of well-known neurological conditions gave me plenty of recognizable material -- much more than is normally included in a fictitious account. You can see that Powers has done his research, he covers all of the big findings in research in the sense of Self. Tying these cases together to show how essentially formless the Self is led to a couple short passages of insight extending beyond...more
Mark Schluter crashes his truck off of a highway in rural Nebraska and ends up in a coma for 14 days. His sister, Karin, leaves everything behind to rush to his side and care for him. When he emerges from his coma, he doesn’t acknowledge her as his sister. He suffers from Capgras syndrome, a rare condition where a person misidentifies someone closest to him—believes that person has been replaced by an imposter, or robo...more
Even so, I am fighting my way through Powers's writing. Is there anyone out there who feels the same? Is there no one who also feels that the writing comes off as amateurish and sentimental, and who is exhausted...more
A woman behind me said, "Excuse me, I think you left your book."
And I said, "Yeah, I kind of wanted to leave my book, in hopes that someone else would come along and not hate it as much as I did."
This book was long, boring, rambling and had one plot twist that was moderately interesting, but didn't show up until about page 400 (out of 450).
Skip it. Seriously. Spend time reading a neurobiology book, or a book abou...more
The characters were OK, but I found Karin, Weber, and Daniel a bit annoying at times. Mark was the only character I really liked.
Crane and Capgras me...more
Karin returns to her small town in Nebraska to care for her brother Mark, almost killed in a mysterious highway accident. When Mark regains consciousness, he insists that Karin is not his real sister and treats her as an impostor. In an attempt to cure Mark of his delusion, Karin contacts Dr. Weber--a neurologist modeled on writer Oliver Sacks--and asks him to examine her brother.
This is a fine novel with considerable narrative drive and a not unsatisfying conclusion. Its deeply philosophical na...more
Mark comes out of coma with a particular disorder that should be at least somewhat familiar to any reader of Oliver Sacks' works about the mind (Sacks is himself, by the way, never mentioned in the book): Capgras Syndr...more
Powers was born in Evanston, Illinois, and his family later moved a few miles south to Lincolnwood, where his father was the principal at a local school. When Powers was 11, his family moved again, this time to Bangkok, Thailand, where his father had accepted a position at International School B...more