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The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

The Echo Maker (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Richard Powers

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2,059923,226 (3.56)89
Title:The Echo Maker
Authors:Richard Powers
Info:William Heinemann (2007), Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:Period:Contemporary, Genre:Fiction

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The Echo Maker by Richard Powers (2006)


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English (87)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All (92)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Like many of Powers' other novels, The Echo Maker fuses pop science and sharp characterizations to bring us (uncomfortably?) close to characters suffering from crises of identity and post-(modern? industrial? capitalist?) loss.

It's notable (and I assume intentional) that of the three main characters, the two ostensibly healthy people suffer more acutely than the accident victim. Powers' style is sharp and compelling, and often departs in quite brilliant lyrical passages that I found amazing. I imagine I will be haunted for years by images from the book, the way I also am by moments from Galatea 2.2 and Plowing of the Dark. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
Interesting novel about a young man who suffered from Capgras Syndrome after suffering some brain damage in an automobile accident. This syndrome is the belief that some people and things around you are imposters. (Sort of like The Truman Show, only the person is aware of it) He calls his sister “Karin Two,” and his dog “Blacky Two,” because he firmly believes they are fakes who are amazingly similar to the real thing. The novel is a combination of a mystery, a psychological treatise on Capgras Syndrome, a nature story about migratory birds, a commentary on evolution and our relationship to other species, and dire warnings about the environmental dangers of over-development. In other words – way too many subplots for my liking. I assigned three stars because I learned a lot about a very rare and fascinating brain disorder. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
The National Book Award? Really? What am I missing? I wanted to like it. It should be right up my alley. I love birds, neuroscience, ordinary people, and grappling with the big questions. This book, however, is just sophomoric, formulaic and dull. The characters are unlikable and uninteresting. The plot is hackneyed and contrived. I know I should write a more reasoned review but I'm too irritated about the time I wasted reading the darn thing to spend any more time on it. ( )
1 vote prairiegrl | Mar 17, 2015 |
A good friend has been recommending Powers to me for years - finally I get around to one! Yeah, my friend's advice was excellent!

I am probably missing some layers here. The book is a kind of blending of neurology and ecology. Reminds me of David Abram or Morris Berman or maybe Richard Grossinger. But this is an excellent novel, one way to explore the issues.

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa will be in the USA in just a few days, in March 2015 and through April. His Holiness is a high level Buddhist figure. So that's largely the neurology angle. How our sense of self is a kind of illusion or mask, a collage. But then His Holiness takes compassion to the ecological level. Yeah the point seems to be, that what we really are is a piece of life, a part of a vast pattern that runs through space and time far beyond our petty conventional boundaries and concerns.

Then, how can a person live, make a life, make meaning, recognizing the situation, the vastness, the emptiness? Just dig in right here and do the work that is right in front waiting, calling.

Very good. ( )
1 vote kukulaj | Mar 12, 2015 |
Enjoyable, though a bit too long. I didn't really buy the subplot about Dr. Weber's personal struggles, and there were many little ways in which things felt unresolved at the end. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (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.
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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
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Cranes keep landing as night falls.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312426437, Paperback)

Winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction
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 back from a traumatic head injury. But when Mark emerges from a coma, he believes that this woman--who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister--is really an imposter. When Karin contacts the famous cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber for help, he diagnoses Mark as having Capgras syndrome. The mysterious nature of the disease, combined with the strange circumstances surrounding Mark's accident, threatens to change all of their lives beyond recognition. In The Echo Maker, Richard Powers proves himself to be one of our boldest and most entertaining novelists.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter, suffering from a rare brain disorder that causes him to believe his sister to be an impostor, endeavors to discover the cause of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in his head injury.

(summary from another edition)

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