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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing

On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757


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The Echo Maker: A Novel by Richard Powers
The Echo Maker: A Novel

welshsinger, June 21, 2007

In this prize-winning novel Richard Powers interweaves several narrative strands, along with neurological and scientific themes. It is very difficult to read and must be read slowly and then reread and then reread. And then read again. Reading it inspired me to return to reading his first, "Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance." This is an investigation of the point in time when the paradigm changed with WW I. "The Echo Maker" is a depiction of post-911 America. Each of his novels is intellectually dense, almost to the point of being turgid. Yet each is a tour de force. He doesn't repeat himself. But there is definitely a recognizeable voice here, which resonates in all his work. He is interdisciplinary in his background and interests. At the same time, he is cool but empathetic, intellectual but involved. "The Echo Maker" is musical in its form as well, and its structure could be compared to a sonata perhaps? He has been compared to Joyce (whose work also was influenced by musical forms, perhaps chamber music); but "Ulysses" is simple to read compared to "The Echo Maker," a combination of "Sound and the Fury," "Ulysses," and Oliver Sachs. I look forward to reading his next novel. Access to the novel is possible but like climbing Mount Everest. Sorry for all the comparisons, but it's hard to articulate my reaction to this novel, without resorting to metaphor or allusion, even simple metaphors and allusions. One final comparison! George Bush to Thomas Jefferson! What more can I say? This novel is not summer reading but well worth the effort. I heartily recommend it but with all these cautions.
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