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.
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 Human Traces. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The New Yorker
Powers’s smooth coincidences and cute patter can be unconvincing and leaden, and he has a tendency to lapse into distracting repetitions. Yet his philosophical musings have the energy of a thriller, and he gives lyrical, haunting life to the landscape of the Great Plains.
New York Times
Powers accomplishes something magnificent, no facile conflation of personal catastrophe with national calamity, but a lovely essay on perseverance in all its forms.
The Washington Post
Richard Powers's 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.
Powers bounces back and forth through Mark's rambling thoughts, Weber's neurological theories, Karin's insecurities, and wonderfully poetic details of the cranes on the Platte River.
Starred Review. Powers...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.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Betsey Van Horn Echoed in my dreams This is my fourth Richard Powers book in as many weeks. When the Austin paper reviewed The Echo Maker prior to its release, I was intrigued and drawn to this author with an immediate urgency to read him. First I read the beautiful and... Read More
Richard Powers wrote most of The Echo Maker on a tablet PC using voice recognition software.
He says, "Ive always wanted the freedom to be completely disembodied when Im
writing, to feel as if Im in a pure compositional state. Typing is a highly
unnatural activity, and your writing style ends up reflecting the cognitive
According to an article in the Guardian (UK), before he was married Powers spent a year not speaking to
anyone - at the end of which he'd written a 400-page novel but, as he puts it,
had become "a bit weird".
For many years, he was uncomfortable giving interviews, and did not speak to the
press until his third novel was published; his photograph did not appear on the
dust jacket of his books until his fifth book - he finds the act of formally
advertising his personality stressful and strange; an attitude he's been forced
to abandon with his increasing success.
In The Echo Maker Powers explores the fine line between...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...