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The Echo Maker: A Novel

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The Echo Maker: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780374146351
ISBN10: 0374146357
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2007 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

The Echo Maker is the story of Mark Schluter, a 27-year-old man who has a mysterious accident in his hometown in Nebraska, the site of the magnificent Sandhill Crane migration along the river. When he comes to, he has developed Capgras syndrome, a condition in which loved ones — and only loved ones — are seen as imposters played by look-alike actors, or perhaps robots. It's a fascinating set-up, and the novel delivers completely, weaving an engrossing, enlightening, and tender mystery out of strands of ecology, neurology, and the very nature of identity. Powers's prose is a marvel, lyrical and lucid. If you haven't yet read this extraordinary author, which Kirkus calls "one of our best novelists," The Echo Maker is the ideal place to begin.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

The Echo Maker is the story of Mark Schluter, a 27-year-old man who has a mysterious accident in his hometown in Nebraska, the site of the magnificent Sandhill Crane migration along the river. When he comes to, he has developed Capgras syndrome, a condition in which loved ones — and only loved ones — are seen as imposters played by look-alike actors, or perhaps robots. It's a fascinating set-up, and the novel delivers completely, weaving an engrossing, enlightening, and tender mystery out of strands of ecology, neurology, and the very nature of identity. Powers's prose is a marvel, lyrical and lucid. If you haven't yet read this extraordinary author, which Kirkus calls "one of our best novelists," The Echo Maker is the ideal place to begin.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin, his only near kin, 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 recognize her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case histories describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognizes Mark as a rare case of Capgras Syndrome, a doubling delusion, and eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.

Set against the Platte River's massive spring migrations — one of the greatest spectacles in nature — The Echo Maker is a gripping mystery that explores the improvised human self and the even more precarious brain that splits us from and joins us to the rest of creation.

Review:

"A truck jackknifes off an 'arrow straight country road' near Kearney, Nebr., in Powers's ninth novel, becoming the catalyst for a painstakingly rendered minuet of self-reckoning. The accident puts the truck's 27-year-old driver, Mark Schluter, into a 14-day coma. When he emerges, he is stricken with Capgras syndrome: he's unable to match his visual and intellectual identifications with his emotional ones. He thinks his sister, Karin, isn't actually his sister — she's an imposter (the same goes for Mark's house). A shattered and worried Karin turns to Gerald Weber, an Oliver Sacks — like figure who writes bestsellers about neurological cases, but Gerald's inability to help Mark, and bad reviews of his latest book, cause him to wonder if he has become a 'neurological opportunist.' Then there are the mysteries of Mark's nurse's aide, Barbara Gillespie, who is secretive about her past and seems to be much more intelligent than she's willing to let on, and the meaning of a cryptic note left on Mark's nightstand the night he was hospitalized. MacArthur fellow Powers (Gold Bug Variations, etc.) masterfully charts the shifting dynamics of Karin's and Mark's relationship, and his prose — powerful, but not overbearing — brings a sorrowful energy to every page." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Richard Powers' new novel — a kind of neuro-cosmological adventure — is an exhilarating narrative feat. The ease with which the author controls his frequently complex material is sometimes as thrilling to watch as the unfolding of the story itself. Yet it opens quietly enough, on the banks of the Platte River in Nebraska, where the cranes are preparing for their annual migration. Powers clearly... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"One of our best novelists...once again extends his unparalleled range." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] muscularly ambitious book, one that scatters small yet piercing revelations among the more thunderous ideas....Powers may well be one of the smartest novelists now writing." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Cleverly, this novel isn't simply about Mark's damaged brain...instead, it sheds light generally on the human mind and our struggle to make sense of both the past and the present." Library Journal

Review:

"[A] mad symphony on the fragility of human identity....There's far too much happening in The Echo Maker...but the chaotic novel is nonetheless one of the year's most engrossing. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"It's a tribute to Powers's nimble plotting that the mysteries unfold so organically and stealthily that you are unaware of his machinations until they come to stunning fruition....Powers accomplishes something magnificent." Colson Whitehead, the New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

On a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. 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.

Synopsis:

On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin, his only near kin, 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 brothers refusal to recognize her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case histories describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognizes Mark as a rare case of Capgras Syndrome, a doubling delusion, and eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.
 
Set against the Platte Rivers massive spring migrations-one of the greatest spectacles in nature-The Echo Maker is a gripping mystery that explores the improvised human self and the even more precarious brain that splits us from and joins us to the rest of creation.
 
The Echo Maker is the winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Richard Powers is the author of eight previous novels that have received numerous honors including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

welshsinger, June 21, 2007 (view all comments by welshsinger)
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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(31 of 49 readers found this comment helpful)
wandaz, March 27, 2007 (view all comments by wandaz)
This book deserved the award. I enjoyed finally reading a decent piece of literature that wasn't overly simplified. Having a science and English background, I enjoyed the references to the mind and how it works. Also his interest in the Sandhill Cranes. His quotes were from books that I have read and have on my shelf. Even the "Who is Sylvia?" reference. I sang it at one time. Great literature.
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(24 of 39 readers found this comment helpful)
cdomal, February 7, 2007 (view all comments by cdomal)
It took winning the National Book Award this year for me to give this author a try. The Echo Maker is so different from anything else I've ever read. This is not the kind of book one simply "skims". You want to savor every word. Every sentence. That's the difference between being a writer and just being a novelist. On the surface the book is a mystery which was both absorbing and entertaining, but there is an underlying theme of miscomunication woven throughout. The mamilian brain sure is an interesting place to probe I can't wait to read all his other books.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374146351
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Powers, Richard
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Nebraska
Subject:
Neurologists
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Medical novels
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
October 17, 2006
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.22 x 6.34 x 1.455 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2007
Featured Titles » National Book Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Echo Maker: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374146351 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Echo Maker is the story of Mark Schluter, a 27-year-old man who has a mysterious accident in his hometown in Nebraska, the site of the magnificent Sandhill Crane migration along the river. When he comes to, he has developed Capgras syndrome, a condition in which loved ones — and only loved ones — are seen as imposters played by look-alike actors, or perhaps robots. It's a fascinating set-up, and the novel delivers completely, weaving an engrossing, enlightening, and tender mystery out of strands of ecology, neurology, and the very nature of identity. Powers's prose is a marvel, lyrical and lucid. If you haven't yet read this extraordinary author, which Kirkus calls "one of our best novelists," The Echo Maker is the ideal place to begin.

"Staff Pick" by ,

The Echo Maker is the story of Mark Schluter, a 27-year-old man who has a mysterious accident in his hometown in Nebraska, the site of the magnificent Sandhill Crane migration along the river. When he comes to, he has developed Capgras syndrome, a condition in which loved ones — and only loved ones — are seen as imposters played by look-alike actors, or perhaps robots. It's a fascinating set-up, and the novel delivers completely, weaving an engrossing, enlightening, and tender mystery out of strands of ecology, neurology, and the very nature of identity. Powers's prose is a marvel, lyrical and lucid. If you haven't yet read this extraordinary author, which Kirkus calls "one of our best novelists," The Echo Maker is the ideal place to begin.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A truck jackknifes off an 'arrow straight country road' near Kearney, Nebr., in Powers's ninth novel, becoming the catalyst for a painstakingly rendered minuet of self-reckoning. The accident puts the truck's 27-year-old driver, Mark Schluter, into a 14-day coma. When he emerges, he is stricken with Capgras syndrome: he's unable to match his visual and intellectual identifications with his emotional ones. He thinks his sister, Karin, isn't actually his sister — she's an imposter (the same goes for Mark's house). A shattered and worried Karin turns to Gerald Weber, an Oliver Sacks — like figure who writes bestsellers about neurological cases, but Gerald's inability to help Mark, and bad reviews of his latest book, cause him to wonder if he has become a 'neurological opportunist.' Then there are the mysteries of Mark's nurse's aide, Barbara Gillespie, who is secretive about her past and seems to be much more intelligent than she's willing to let on, and the meaning of a cryptic note left on Mark's nightstand the night he was hospitalized. MacArthur fellow Powers (Gold Bug Variations, etc.) masterfully charts the shifting dynamics of Karin's and Mark's relationship, and his prose — powerful, but not overbearing — brings a sorrowful energy to every page." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A remarkable novel, from one of our greatest novelists, and a book that will change all who read it."
"Review" by , "One of our best novelists...once again extends his unparalleled range."
"Review" by , "[A] muscularly ambitious book, one that scatters small yet piercing revelations among the more thunderous ideas....Powers may well be one of the smartest novelists now writing."
"Review" by , "Cleverly, this novel isn't simply about Mark's damaged brain...instead, it sheds light generally on the human mind and our struggle to make sense of both the past and the present."
"Review" by , "[A] mad symphony on the fragility of human identity....There's far too much happening in The Echo Maker...but the chaotic novel is nonetheless one of the year's most engrossing. (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "It's a tribute to Powers's nimble plotting that the mysteries unfold so organically and stealthily that you are unaware of his machinations until they come to stunning fruition....Powers accomplishes something magnificent."
"Synopsis" by , On a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, 27-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister Karin, his only near kin, 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 brothers refusal to recognize her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case histories describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. Weber recognizes Mark as a rare case of Capgras Syndrome, a doubling delusion, and eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.
 
Set against the Platte Rivers massive spring migrations-one of the greatest spectacles in nature-The Echo Maker is a gripping mystery that explores the improvised human self and the even more precarious brain that splits us from and joins us to the rest of creation.
 
The Echo Maker is the winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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