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The Diagnosisby Alan Lightman
Synopses & Reviews
Alan Lightman's first novel, Einstein's Dreams, was greeted with international praise. Salman Rushdie called it "at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written." Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times that the novel creates "a magical, metaphysical realm . . . as in Calvino's work, the fantastical elements of the stories are grounded in precise, crystalline prose." With The Diagnosis, Lightman gives us his most ambitious and penetrating novel yet.
While rushing to his office one warm summer morning, Bill Chalmers, a junior executive, realizes that he cannot remember where he is going or even who he is. All he remembers is the motto of his company: The maximum information in the minimum time.
When Bill's memory returns, "his head pounding, remembering too much," a strange numbness afflicts him, beginning as a tingling in his hands and gradually spreading over the rest of his body. As he attempts to find a diagnosis of his illness, he descends into a nightmare, enduring a blizzard of medical tests and specialists without conclusive results, the manic frenzy of his company, and a desperate wife who decides that he must be imagining his deteriorating condition.
By turns satiric, comic, and tragic, The Diagnosis is a brilliant and disturbing examination of our modern obsession with speed, information, and money, and what this obsession has done to our minds and our spirits.
The author of the bestselling "Einstein's Dreams" now gives readers the story of Bill Chalmers, an ordinary man who loses his memory and can only recall his company's motto. Worse still, when his memory returns, he descends into a Kafkaesque nightmare in which the more he discovers, the more he realizes what he has already lost.
About the Author
Alan Lightman's previous books include Einstein's Dreams, Good Benito, and Dance for Two. A professor of humanities and a lecturer in physics at MIT, he lives in Boston.
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