Albert Einstein's brain floats in formaldehyde in a Tupperware® bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is Michael Paterniti, a young journalist from Maine. Sitting next to him is an eighty-four-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955--and simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years.
On a cold February day, the two men and the brain leave New Jersey and light out on I-70 for sunny California, where Einstein's perplexed granddaughter, Evelyn, awaits. And riding along as the imaginary fourth passenger is Einstein himself, an id-driven genius, the original galactic slacker with his head in the stars.
Part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography, and part meditation, Driving Mr. Albert is one of the most unique road trips in modern literature. With the brain as both cargo and talisman, Paterniti perceives every motel, truck-stop diner, and roadside attraction as a weigh station for the American dream in the wake of the scientist's mind-blowing legacy. Finally, inspired by the man who gave a skeptical world a glimpse of its cosmic origins, this extraordinary writer weaves his own unified field theory of time, love, and the power to believe, once again, in eternity.
Washington Post Book World
Of all our distinctively American manias, few have the enduring psychic resonance of the road trip. From Lewis and Clark to Huck Finn, Jack Kerouac to Hunter Thompson, it is our favorite route to regeneration and self-discovery, our autotherapeutic ritual, our hajj without a Mecca. Now feature writer Michael Paterniti joins that grand tradition with an eccentric, implausible, hilarious, infuriating, and ultimately mesmerizing nonfiction account of his eight-day journey across the country in a teal-colored Buick Skylark.... [the book's] huge appeal and final joy depend chiefly on two elements. One is Paterniti's prose style ... The other is the refreshingly compassionate tone.
Part travelogue, part biography ... highly absorbing.
Bob Shacochis, author of Easy in the Islands and The Immaculate Invasion
We all need to sign up for this one, the last great postmodern fin de millennium road trip, a cosmic whodunit and an everlastingly unforgettable pilgrimage. Driving Mr. Albert is a dazzling dense lump of miracles and genius thanks in no small part to chief detective Michael Paterniti, a literary wizard whose multidimensional prose is quite a match for his subject's brilliance.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by JAMES FRASER Driving Mr. Albet Hi, the book is very interesting, I have read other reviews, like "book notes" that said a large part of the brain was in Saskatchewan Canada. I lived near Canwood Saskatchewan where Einstein played hockey, but no brain. The only conclusion I have... Read More
Rated of 5
I personally enjoyed this story of 2 men who travel across the US with Albert Einstein's brain in the trunk of their rented Buick. It was quirky and fun and sweet all at the same time. Included is a light biography of Einstein and the bizarre... Read More
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