The Echo Maker
I've been reading slower lately, because my schedule has been crazy - not as crazy, I know as when the baby arrives, but crazy nonetheless. I picked up The Echo Maker a few weeks ago, almost forgetting when and why I'd bought it. It won The National Book Award, which is probably the genesis of my purchase, but the plot line seemed potentially melodramatic and Oprah-esque for my taste.
Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case.
The book centers around Mark Schluter, a man in his late 20s who flips his truck in the middle of the night. His sister Karin races back home to care for him - and Mark makes it out of surgery. However, when he regains consciousness, he believes that the woman helping him is NOT his sister, but an impostor.
What Mark is suffering from, apparently due to the injury, is something called Capgras Delusion, or Capgras syndrome. This rare happenstance causes no shortage of emotional pain for Karin, and she seeks help everywhere, including from a noted author who writes about rare brain syndromes such as this.
The book has a few minor mysteries, some of which are quite well revealed and others which I didn't care as much about. Author Richard Powers does a nice job of writing from several perspectives: Karin, the doctor, and most interestingly, Mark the patient. He is a very talented writer, and his prose is both lyrical and modern, and it's a pleasure to read. While the book rarely captivated me, I enjoyed it quite a bit and would definitely recommend it.