HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Have you checked out SantaThing, LibraryThing's gift-giving tradition?
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Echo Maker (2006)

by Richard Powers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2861004,790 (3.58)102
On a winter night on a remote road in Nebraska, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter's truck turns over in a near fatal accident. His older sister, Karin, his only close relative, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when he emerges from a protracted coma, Mark believes that this woman - who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister - is really an identical impostor. Shattered by her brother's refusal to recognise her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case studies describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognises Mark as a very unusual case of Capgras syndrome and is keen to investigate. But what he discovers in Mark begins to undermine even his own sense of self. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened on the night of his accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition. Set against the spectacular spring migrations of American Sandhill cranes, The Echo Maker is a profound and riveting novel that explores how memory, instinct and relationships make us who we are.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 102 mentions

English (89)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Italian (2)  French (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
The Echo Maker (Jehona e kujtesës) i Richar Powers, është i ngjashëm me filmat që nderohen me Oskar. Dramatik, prekës, lirik, i thjeshtë dhe të lë mbresa të thella. * * * "Jehona e kujtesës" nuk është një elegji për të shkuarën, as një përshëndetje mirëseardhëse në jetë, por një eksplorim në detaje të hollësishme i betejës së përditëshme për të mos e humbur jetën. * * * Është një Libra i madh dhe i rëndësishëm për letërsinë e sotme. Është aq i vërtetë, saqë nëse çrregullimi i trurit, shkaktuar nga aksidenti me nuk do të ishte metaforë, do besoje deri në fund se migrimi i shpirtit, si simptomë klinike ndodh nën diellin e shtatorit, njëherësh me migrimin e lejlekëve duke lajmëruar stinën e vjeshtës. Ai përpiqet të flasë. Asgjë nuk del nga goja e tij, përveç një fishkëllime të thatë.
  BibliotekaFeniks | Jul 16, 2020 |
Compelling, deep, frequently profound. Prone to the occasional clunky line of dialogue or prose, but the difficult blend of technical writing about the brain, philosophical musing, and development of plot simply worked for me in a way that Galatea did not.

I agree with a lot of the criticism I see about the characters, their interaction, and the way Powers fills in their low-level details (stilted, sitcom-like, mechanically-written), but I felt the density of insight overcame those hurdles. ( )
  Alex_JN | Dec 10, 2019 |
This is a novel that takes it self so seriously that it's hard to enjoy. The writing is very good even while none of the characters are particularly likable. The main issue that I struggled with while reading this book was that it didn't seem to be building into anything in particular. As I came to the end I was a bit like "Oh. Okay. Really? Wait, what? Alright." ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
I find the task of reviewing Richard Powers daunting and humbling. This is my third one, after Orfeo and The Time of Our Singing, and they are all brilliant in subtly different ways. One obvious difference is that there is much less music in this one, but there is a wealth of ideas - on the brain, on nature and evolution, on the nature of American society after 9/11, and on the nature of love and what it really means to know another person. Then there is the setting, the Platte river in South Nebraska, a spectacular staging post on the migration path of sandhill cranes.

The story starts with Mark, a young man in left in a coma after a car accident that almost killed him. His sister and only remaining relative Karin comes back to her hometown to care for him. This is just the start of a complex web in which nothing and nobody is quite what it or they seem to be. When Mark recovers consciousness, he is unable to accept that Karin is his sister, obsessing on minor differences between what he sees and what he remembers, illustrating what is known as Capgras syndrome. The case is brought to the attention of Gerald Weber, a writer about psychological disorders (who must be at least partially modelled on Oliver Sacks). Gerald becomes involved against his better judgment and the case causes him a crisis of confidence that leads him to question his professional integrity.

Interspersed with the story of Mark's disease, there are two other major strands to the story. Firstly Mark becomes obsessed with a mysterious note left at his bedside on the day of the accident, and needs to find out who wrote it, what they know, and how his friends were involved. Secondly Karin becomes involved with Mark's estranged childhood friend Daniel, who works on an environmental project protecting the cranes' habitat and fighting a development project that threatens it.

The material on the brain, how brain science evolves and what is known and not known about various brain disorders is fascinating, but perhaps overlong and a little too detailed for all but the keenest readers. The personal story is gripping, and some of the turns it takes are genuinely surprising.

I am still just scratching the surface of what could be said about this book, all I can really do is recommend it. Perhaps not quite as extraordinary as The Time of Our Singing, but it seems invidious to compare such different books, and my respect for Powers as a writer has only increased. ( )
1 vote bodachliath | Sep 14, 2018 |
I read this because a former professor of mine--a brilliant man--recommended the author in passing. The first hundred pages or so were interesting and set in motion a terrific idea for a novel. However, the book soon became unwieldy and horribly overwritten. Powers couldn't leave well enough alone. The dialogue between Weber and his wife is terrible--who talks like this?--and many of the characters speak in cute ironic phrases. At one point, a woman tells Weber in a bar, "Basta. Enough flagellation. Let's dance." Enough flagellation? At another point, one of the protagonist's friends-- a loser--quotes Hamlet. (And not "To be or not to be," but something more obscure.) There are hundreds of such examples in the book-and the longer it goes, the more the characters all seem to sound like each other and the more difficult it became to turn the pages.

Powers is too smart for his own good, or at least the good of the reader. He attempts to dramatize how the brain creates the illusion that we are whole when our selves are really fragments. But the amount of neuroscientific jargon that is found on so many pages becomes maddening. When a man kisses a woman and we read, "He slips down into limbic back alleys, corners that survived when the massive neocortex came through like a superhighway," we realize that when you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Perhaps Powers writes about cranes better than people.

As for the great mystery that propels the book, the payoff is completely underwhelming. Avoid.
( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
Powers does a beautiful job with these characters, as we see each of them navigate through their self-preoccupations, their histories (shared and not) and where their own needs intersect with others.
 

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
To find the soul it is necessary to lose it.
- A. R. Luria
Part One:

We are all potential fossils still carrying within our bodies the crudities of former existences, the marks of a world in which living creatures flow with little more consistency than clouds from age to age.
- Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey, "The Slit"
Part Two:

I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Part Three:

I once saw, on a flowerpot in my own living room, the efforts of a field mouse to build a remembered field. I have lived to see this episode repeated in a thousand guises, and since I have spent a large portion of my life in the shade of a non-existent tree, i think I am entitled to speak for the field mouse.
- Loren Eiseley, The Night Country, "The Brown Wasps"
Part Four:

What was full was not my creel, but my memory. Like the white-throats, I had forgotten it would ever again be aught but morning on the Fork.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Dedication
First words
Cranes keep landing as night falls.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Richard Powers (Evanston,Illinois, 1957) a scritto anche (pubblicati in Italia): "Tre contadini che vanno a ballare"; "Il dilemma del prigioniero"; "Galatea 2.2"; "Il tempo di una canzone".
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

On a winter night on a remote road in Nebraska, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter's truck turns over in a near fatal accident. His older sister, Karin, his only close relative, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when he emerges from a protracted coma, Mark believes that this woman - who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister - is really an identical impostor. Shattered by her brother's refusal to recognise her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case studies describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognises Mark as a very unusual case of Capgras syndrome and is keen to investigate. But what he discovers in Mark begins to undermine even his own sense of self. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened on the night of his accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition. Set against the spectacular spring migrations of American Sandhill cranes, The Echo Maker is a profound and riveting novel that explores how memory, instinct and relationships make us who we are.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.58)
0.5 2
1 13
1.5 6
2 43
2.5 22
3 149
3.5 49
4 179
4.5 28
5 93

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 152,670,341 books! | Top bar: Always visible