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The Echo Maker (2006)

by Richard Powers

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2,3221024,878 (3.57)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)
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» See also 102 mentions

English (91)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Just couldn't stay with such miserable assholes any longer. Plus the bits from Marker's (really? Marker? Bleah!) brain-damaged POV were just too much. Bitter. Convoluted. Like dream sequences and those I always skip in any novel. Yuk. Just gross. Glad it came from the library and could go right back.
  Bookmarque | Apr 28, 2021 |
This is a rambling, overly long book that examines the concept of self, how it shapes our perception of those around us and how they, in turn, reshape our sense of self. Synopsis: The thread that holds it together is the story of a man convalescing from the trauma of a near-fatal accident. His grasp of reality is shattered and his sister, whom he sees as an imposter, has appealed to a famous cognitive neurologist for help. From there it becomes a case of ‘Physician, heal thyself’ as the good doctor suffers an identity crisis of his own – does he have a genuine interest in his patients' welfare or is he just mining them for case histories to pump up his book sales, as his critics suggest? Even knowing the twist at the end, I still found this to be fascinating on a second reading because of the way it explores the brain/mind connection and humakind’s impact on the balances in the natural world as a whole. ( )
1 vote wandaly | Apr 12, 2021 |
Maybe the book is better if you read it vs listen to it, as I did. The narrator was ok, but I wonder if having someone act out the reading overwhelms any chance of other interpretations. Anyway, I just wanted to smack most of the characters. And his dialogue is terrible. ( )
  A2Seamster | Apr 9, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (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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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
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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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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.

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