BookBrowse Reviews The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

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The Echo Maker

A Novel

By Richard Powers

The Echo Maker
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2006,
    464 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2007,
    464 pages.

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A gripping mystery that explores the improvised human self. Novel

Every now and then a book comes along that is so head and shoulders above the mass of writing that it seems almost unfair to review it in the same issue as other books. The Echo Maker is one such book. Set against the Platte River's massive spring bird migrations, it's a gripping story that explores one of the greatest mysteries of all, the human brain, and how it makes us who we are, thus bearing similarities to Sebastian Faulks's recent novel Human Traces.

At the heart of the story is Mark, a likeable, unambitious 27-year-old, who suffers a head injury when he flips his truck and loses his ability to recognize the things closest to him, including his sister, his dog and his house.

Capgras syndrome is normally seen as a side effect of other issues, such as schizophrenia, so when Karin contacts the famous bestselling neurologist Gerald Weber (modeled ...

Richard Powers (b. 1957) has received numerous honors including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He teaches in the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, the fourth of five children. Early in the 1960s his father, a high school principal moved the family to the north Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood; then, when he was 11 (1968) his father accepted a job at the International School of Bangkok, and the family spent the next five years in Thailand, where Powers became both an accomplished music student (cello, guitar, clarinet and saxophone) and a voracious reader - his earliest literary passion being for nonfiction - particularly biographies and science. He recalls feeling that he was "destined to be a ...

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