Man Walks Into a Room
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Man Walks Into a Room

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  4,204 ratings  ·  490 reviews
A luminous and unforgettable first novel by an astonishing new voice in fiction, hailed by Esquire magazine as “one of America’s best young writers.”

Samson Greene, a young and popular professor at Columbia, is found wandering in the Nevada desert. When his wife, Anna, comes to bring him home, she finds a man who remembers nothing, not even his own name. The removal of a sm...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 2002)
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Ian Paganus
A Reader Walks into a Room

I bought "Man" after loving "The History of Love".

I don't think I realised until I started reading it that "Man" was her first novel.

There were times when I could understand why other readers might be tempted to give it up.

I persisted out of loyalty to "History" and out of a sense of anticipation for "Great House".

Little did I realise that it would (almost) have me in tears at the end.

Where Did My Character Go?

"Man" is not a novel of action.

Yet I don't think it's quite...more
Caris
One day, I am going to purchase the rights to all of this woman’s work. I am going to compile them all in one large volume. It is going to be called How to Write.

I cannot properly articulate the feeling I get from picking up a Nicole Krauss book. There’s this anticipation and excitement that only comes with something you know is going to be good. But there is something more to it. There’s also that promise of feeling something profound without effort. It isn’t hard to read her work. She is so g...more
Jafar
The book starts off very promising. A man loses 24 years of his memory due to a brain tumor. As the book says, we’re nothing but a collection of habits and accumulation of memories. If we lose those memories and habits, we lose our self and start over with a blank slate. That should make a good concept for a very interesting novel. Instead, the story meanders through a series of irrelevant events and characters and doesn’t offer much in the end.

From the few places where Krauss discusses things l...more
Anda Manteufel
I was going to give this 4 stars but changed my mind at the last few pages. Not that it ended poorly, but I just can't put my finger on it. I loved the writing and the poetic one-liners that Krauss is so good at. But I got the "first novel" vibe from this for sure ... in that she seemed to have SO many good things to write/ideas to share that she just inserted gratuitous paragraphs/plotlines that really did nothing for the story. Nice to read those parts since she writes so beautifully, but unne...more
bookczuk
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book, now that I am through with it. I am convinced that Nicole Krauss is a marvelous writer. Of that, there is no doubt. But I never fully engaged in the story here. Part of that is Samson's fault, though. I don't think he fully engaged in his story either. The ending came abruptly -- a rapid change of pace, with the epilogue in a different character voice which left me disorientated. (Ha! Just a note to add that I, too, find the use of this word dist...more
Tung
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zweegas

So, my reading group virtually voted to kick me out of the group whenever they decided to move our monthly meetings from Thursday to Wednesday. It's okay that I couldn't make it to the most recent meeting because I seem to like this book much less than the other reading group members here on Goodreads.com

It starts out with a thirty-something year-old man who has no memories since the age of 12. He has all these years and years of people who remember him and things that happened in his life but h...more
Sarah Messick-Milone
This book had a very interesting premise: a middle-aged man loses all his memory since he was 12 but still has the sophisticated mind of an adult: how does he cope?

Parts of the novel are very poignant-- mostly the scenes between Samson and his wife and Samson and his great uncle. Other parts really drag and seem caught up in vague ruminations on memory.

All in all, I don't think the book hung together too well and I much prefer her other novel, _A Brief History of Love_. Maybe since I loved that...more
Gloria
Achingly poignant and sad. (why do I love books like this...?)
I was going to go with 4 or 4.5 stars, but I know already this will be one that will not leave my mind. Samson will live in there a long, long time.
Tara
A fresh, fascinating investigation of classic themes of loneliness and isolation. Her prose is so lyrical and poetic that it takes awhile before you realize that Krauss has broken your heart.
Madeline Knight-Dixon
The entire premise of this books is that a man wakes up, and has lost the memory of twenty years of his life (he only remembers up to being 12 years old). In itself, not a new concept. However, this book distinguishes itself as a truly unique work of art.

Moments of this book terrified me. Krauss makes this book unique by presenting a man who, after the loss of so much, enjoys the emptiness he’s left with. He allows himself to experience every moment beyond what someone burdened with memories can...more
Maggie Campbell
"She's lovely. Beautiful and kind and what's not to like? but why her and not someone else?"

"That place just beyond everything she knows for sure."

"Who was I? What did I care about? What did I find funny, sad, stupid, painful? Was I happy? All of those memories I accumulated, gone. Which one, if there could have been only one, would I have kept?"

"He knew she liked him but couldn't say why, and now he wondered whether she became so quickly intimate with everyone she stumbled across."

" 'And for a...more
Caroline
What if a brain tumor causes you to lose all memories of your life after the age of 12? That's what happened to Samson Greene. One day he's an English professor at Columbia University and the next, he's found wandering in the Nevada desert, with no memory of his name, what he's doing in the desert, that he's married, who his friends are, and that his mother's dead.

After the tumor has been removed, Samson has to deal with living in a house he doesn't remember, a wife he doesn't recognize and a li...more
Laala Alghata
I love Nicole Krauss. I read The History of Love mid 2006. I loved it, but for some reason did not hunt for other books the author had written. Perhaps I had a long enough To Read list as it was. Earlier this summer I stumbled upon this book, and after recalling how much I loved the first book of hers I’d read, decided to give her debut a go.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it almost start to finish without putting it down. I put it down just the once, and because I had to. I loved Samson, I love...more
Garrett
Favorite excerpt:

"He inched towards her until their sides were touching, arm to arm, leg to bare leg. Sam? she whispered. Do you think--- This was Jollie Lambird, whom he had been in love with since the second grade, and he was ready to answer any question she might have for him. But he didn't hear the rest of it because just then he kissed her, a kiss that may have lasted for hours while porch lights shuddered and went out across the neighborhood. While stars themselves lit up or went out, star...more
kristin
This is my favorite of hers.

Krauss can pull my heartstrings like no other. The pain and loss of her characters is almost unbearable, and yet I always come back for more.

These people love each other. There's no physical boundary to keep them apart. And yet they just can't be together. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

If I replace myself with any one of them I would try to say the thing(s) that needed to be said to try to be together again, but then I am not as beautiful as these people are. They'r...more
Lindsey
This is the story of Samson Greene, a man who wakes up in a hospital, thousands of miles from home, after being found disoriented and alone in the desert. Initally Samson cannot remember his own name, and as memories slowly creep into his consciousness, he gets hit with the cruel reality that he has lost the past 24 years of his life due to a benign brain tumor in his temporal lobe. Samson's last memory is taken from a 12 year old's perspective and he suddenly finds himself being thrown into an...more
Grace Viray
Gripping. Touching. Thought provoking.

What if you wake up one day with no memories of the years that have passed? Will you embrace the emptiness, start anew or go searching for answers of those echoes of the past that have shaped you to who you are at the present? Will you hold on to the people around you, who remember you as you have been, or cut them from your life, turn over a new leaf?

Krauss, a very talented writer, capable of stirring into her readers such thoughts and lead them into intros...more
Amy
This book is beautifully written. The book is about a man who has a brain tumor and loses all his memories from ages 12-36. He retains his childhood memories up until age 12 and is able to make new memories but 24 years of his life are just gone. I tried to imagine losing all the moments that make you who are and not only having all these personal events occur and not remember them, but also the events that go on in the world and having no idea what's going on. Losing the happy moments seem to h...more
Erin Quinney
I am conflicted about this book. I really wanted to give it three and a half stars. On one hand, the writing is excellent and the characters engaging. There are some interesting philisophical discussions and endearing comedic interludes. On the other hand, the story has some weak points and I found myself thinkig, "Who cares? Get on with the story!"

While the premise is interesting and the phrasing is very good, there is a sense of aimlessness in the execution. The action starts quickly but star...more
Shauna
I finished The History of Love wanting to read anything else by Nicole Krauss, and picked up Man Walks Into a Room the next day.

This was a much more difficult book for me to get into, and ultimately I never really did. It's a very internal book, which makes sense given that it's about a man who loses several years of memory to a brain tumor. The memory loss affects his feelings towards his wife, as well as his knowledge and ability to practice his profession. In the first half in particular, the...more
Brianna
I am a big Nicole Krauss fan. Oddly enough (well, probably because I was only 12 when it was published), I hadn't read her first novel, and this was unacceptable to me. I liked the first half of this novel, but I admittedly wasn't impressed by it, as it seemed to lack the momentum, mystery, and intricacy that "The History of Love" and "Great House" exhibit from the start. And that is probably true; it was her first published book. But the second half of the novel is where all of the "Krauss-like...more
Antara Basu-Zych
This book ranks in my list of favorite books of all time. The story is about a young man, Samson Greene, who seems to have everything -- a beautiful wife, a professorship at Columbia University, a home in NYC, good friends... a near-perfect life. But a strange tumor on his brain causes him to lose his memory -- all except the first 12 of his life. So the book starts with him wandering the desert near Las Vegas, mistaken for a homeless man, discovered by the police. His wife is called and by that...more
Kendall
Something about this book could not keep my full attention. The themes of memory and loss and identity were really lovely, and there were a handful of really beautifully-written passages.

From one of Samson's memories of being twelve-years-old:
"It was the vivid color of the memory that startled him, a luminous blue. It was all around him, warm and smooth, and moving through it toward the glow of light he could hear muted sounds that seemed to come from a great, impassable distance. There was a fe...more
Emily
Sep 19, 2008 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who find the brain and memory fascinating
The first half of this book really just reached out and grabbed me. Like, I'm sitting on the bus thinking about it many hours after reading it. Like, I'm resisting picking it up during the day because I know I won't be able to stop. The ideas are super compelling, like a great episode of RadioLab or one of those New Yorker articles you tell your friends about for weeks after you've read it. The pseudo-scientist in me was in hog heaven.
It was also subtly poetic, or subversively poetic, maybe. Li...more
Joan Winnek
"I've been lonely my whole life. For as long as I can remember, since I was a child. Sometimes being around other people makes it worse. . . . When you're young, you think it's going to be solved by love. But it never is. Being close--as close as you can get--to another person only makes clear the impassable distance between you." [pp. 124-125:]

"His mind had filled with the detritus of recollection, and then, as a final humiliation, it had been broken into and vandalized. . . . no matter how gre...more
Patty
I once knew an art professor who would buy multiple copies of books he liked. He would put one in his back pocket and when he ran into a friend, whip out the book and give it to his friend. This is that sort of book: I want to buy a few copies and give them out to the people I love.

But don't get me wrong: this is not necessarily a cheery, upbeat book.

I may be peculiar; I am drawn to books about people who have lost their memories. The first book of the Monk series, by Anne Perry, for example. Ma...more
Jennifer Stone
I can't wait for The Great House. I didn't think this was as amazing as History of Love, but considering that is one of the greatest books I have ever read in my life, that is not saying much. I am so grateful someone sent Nicole Krauss my way. I don't think there are many people who say things that actually matter. Her work matters to me. I guess maybe it won't to someone else, maybe there won't be, in the way she captures everyday intimacy, something that matters to him or her. That is just ho...more
Natasja
Een maand bezig geweest aan een boek van 250 pagina's... Waaraan kan dat liggen? Niet aan de premisse - man kan zich de laatste 26 jaar van zijn leven niet herinneren en besluit z'n bestaan totaal om te gooien, best wel origineel dus. Niet aan de schrijfstijl van Krauss - onderhoudend, beschrijvend, zin voor detail...
Ik hou het op een verhaal dat met haken en ogen aan elkaar hing, bevolkt met te veel oninteressante personages, dat me een enkele maal kon vastgrijpen, maar al heel snel niet meer...more
Sarah Beney
A very poignant and captivating read. It wouldn't normally be a book I'd pick up but my partner persuaded me to give it a try. I was hooked from start to finish.
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Nicole Krauss is the author of the international bestseller The History of Love, which was published by W.W. Norton in 2005. It won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Ėtranger, was named #1 book of the year by Amazon.com, and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes. Her first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was a finalist for the...more
More about Nicole Krauss...
The History of Love Great House An Arrangement of Light Zusya on the Roof Best European Fiction 2012

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“He spoke of human solitude, about the intrinsic loneliness of a sophisticated mind, one that is capable of reason and poetry but which grasps at straws when it comes to understanding another, a mind aware of the impossibility of absolute understanding. The difficulty of having a mind that understands that it will always be misunderstood.” 69 likes
“You fall in love, it's intoxicating, an for a little while you feel like you've actually become one with the other person. Merged souls, and so on. You think you'll never be lonely again. Only it doesn't last and soon you realize you can only get so close and you end up brutally disappointed, more alone than ever, because the illusion-the hope you'd held on to all those years-has been shattered.” 54 likes
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