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Andrew's Brainby E. L. Doctorow
Synopses & Reviews
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TELEGRAPH
This brilliant new novel by an American master, the author of Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, Billy Bathgate, and The March, takes us on a radical trip into the mind of a man who, more than once in his life, has been the inadvertent agent of disaster.
Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times—funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound. Andrew’s Brain is a surprising turn and a singular achievement in the canon of a writer whose prose has the power to create its own landscape, and whose great topic, in the words of Don DeLillo, is “the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history.”
Praise for Andrew’s Brain
“Too compelling to put down . . . fascinating, sometimes funny, often profound . . . Andrew is a provocatively interesting and even sympathetic character. . . . The novel seamlessly combines Doctorow’s remarkable prowess as a literary stylist with deep psychological storytelling pitting truth against delusion, memory and perception, consciousness and craziness. . . . [Doctorow] takes huge creative risks—the best kind.”—USA Today
“Cunning [and] sly . . . This babbling Andrew is a casualty of his times, binding his wounds with thick wrappings of words, ideas, bits of story, whatever his spinning mind can unspool for him. One of the things that makes [Andrew] such a terrific comic creation is that he’s both maddeningly self-delusive and scarily self-aware: He’s a fool, but he’s no innocent.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A tantalising tour de force . . . a journey worth taking . . . With exhilarating brio, the book plays off . . . two contrasting takes on mind and brain. . . . [Andrew’s Brain encompasses] an astonishing range of modes: vaudeville humour, tragic romance, philosophical speculation. . . . It fizzes with intellectual energy, verbal pyrotechnics and satiric flair.”—The Sunday Times (London)
“Dramatic . . . cunning and beautiful . . . strange and oddly fascinating, this book: a musing, a conjecture, a frivolity, a deep interrogatory, a hymn.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Provocative . . . a story aswirl in a whirlpool of neuroscience, human relations, loss, guilt and recent American history . . . Doctorow reveals his mastery in the sheen of a text that is both window and mirror. Reading his work is akin to soaring in a glider. Buoyed by invisible breath, readers encounter stunning vistas stretching to horizons they’ve never imagined.”—The Plain Dealer
“Andrew’s ruminations can be funny, and his descriptions gorgeous.”—Associated Press
“[An] evocative, suspenseful novel about the deceptive nature of human consciousness.”—More
“A quick and acutely intelligent read.”—Entertainment Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
"Doctorow's latest novel — structured as a series of conversations between a neuroscientist named Andrew and an unknown man at an unknown location — tells the story of Andrew's life, while raising questions about memory, human consciousness, free will, and the mind. Narrating his own work, Doctorow delivers a winning performance. His reading is well paced and clear, and he does just enough to ensure listeners can differentiate between Andrew and his interlocutor. Additionally, Doctorow's voice is imbued with a vulnerability and tenderness that work to add poignancy to his narration. While the author could have done more with character voices, his knowledge of his characters is clearly on display and this allows him to capture the spirit of his book. A Random House hardcover. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
E. L. Doctorow’s works of fiction include Homer & Langley, The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize, honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career [places] him in the highest rank of American literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.
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