Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity? After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, Fukuda went on to work as a criminal prosecutor in New York City. He now writes full time. Except me.
You go extinct. Eleven years ago, one was discovered in my school. A kindergarten student, on her first day. She was devoured almost immediately. What was she thinking?
The teacher announced nap time, and the little tyke was left standing alone on the floor clutching her teddy bear as her classmates leaped feetfirst toward the ceiling. At that point, it was over for her. She might as well have taken out her fake fangs and prostrated herself for the inevitable feasting. Her classmates stared down wide-eyed from above: Hello, what have we here? She started to cry, they tell me, bawl her eyes out. The teacher was the first to get to her.
Although you can still get caught by surprise. He was only making a point, of course, but that point near did me in. Because sweat is a dead giveaway. Sweat is what happens when we get hot; water droplets leak out like a baby drooling. I know, gross. Everyone else remains cool, clean, dry. So forget about cross-country, forget about tennis, forget about even competitive chess. But swimming is fine, because it hides the sweat.
Never smile or laugh or giggle, never cry or get teary-eyed. Never forget to apply butter liberally all over your body when venturing out in the daytime. So many other rules, enough to fill a notebook, not that I ever felt inclined to write them down. Besides, my father reminded me of the rules every day. Because you must always remember that your looks are a curse, not a blessing. Never forget that. Except one. When I first started taking the horse-drawn school bus, my father forbade me from looking back at him to wave good-bye.
Because people never do that. That was a hard rule for me, initially. For the first few nights of school, as I stepped onto the bus, it took everything in me to freeze myself, to not look back and wave good-bye. It was like a reflex, an insuppressible cough. I was just a kid back then, too, which made it doubly hard.
I broke that rule only one time, seven years ago. Andrews novels, which have sold over million copies worldwide and have been translated into twenty-five foreign languages. Join the conversation about the world of V. Andrews at Facebook. Date of Birth:. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
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Add to Wishlist. USD 9. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Product Details About the Author. About the Author One of the most popular authors of all time, V. Date of Birth: June 6, Date of Death: December 19, Place of Birth: Portsmouth, Virginia. Place of Death: Virginia Beach, Virginia. Average Review. This book has as unreliable a narrator as can possibly be imagined, and yet I didn't find myself spending so much time trying to suss out the truth as simply reveling in how the reader is pushed and pulled and basically thrust into the narrator's brain.
You'll either want to spend time there or not, but I was mesmerized. And I can't think of any writer who is more precise and succinct in his writing than E. Doctorow, who makes every sentence count. It's almost alarmingly fresh writing from an author who's enjoyed such a long career. View all 13 comments.
Nov 13, Ron Charles rated it it was ok Shelves: guys-wandering , Cut the music. Morgan and a host of other real-life luminaries is now working in a cramped, dark cell. The whole story comes to us as the rambling testimony of a depressed scientist being patiently interviewed, possibly by a government psychiatrist. He sometimes speaks of himself in the third person; he regularly mocks his unnamed interrogator; and he pays no attention to chronology. Instead, Andrew just pops off with little pop-philosophy conundrums. Decades after Daniel Dennett, John Searle and other contemporary scientists and philosophers began writing about consciousness for a lay audience, we deserve something more sophisticated from this novel — more cortex, less vortex.
And the woman he loved, gone, and a child he loved, gone, and he looks in the mirror and hates the pretense of his white hair and mustache and suit, all gathered in the rocking-chair wisdom that resides in his bleary eyes. He despairs of the likelihood that the world is his illusion, that he is but a vagrant mind in a futile drift through eternity.
Worse is the final quarter of the novel, set in the White House after the Sept. With its well-worn vision of George W. Bush as an inept frat boy surrounded by maniacal advisers, the story stalls in limp political satire passed off as bitter historical analysis. Novelists such as Richard Powers and Alex Shakar have shown what a boundlessly fascinating subject the relationship between brain and mind can be, but exploring that issue in a meaningful way requires more than a collection of dramatic gestures and philosophical koans.
View all 6 comments. Oct 10, Abby rated it liked it Shelves: I've been reading E. Doctorow novels are rich in character and plot seen through a brilliantly deployed historical lens. Surely we wouldn't pummel a writer for stretching his imagination and heading off in a new direction to contemplate the workings of the mind, its relationship to the brain, and the meaning of thought and memory. But Doctorow's fans may be disoriented for the better part of this book's pages. Andrew is a professor of cognitive science and so has a professional as well as a personal interest in the working of the mind, especially his own.
The novel takes the form of a dialogue with a therapist in which Andrew recounts his past as the agent of inadvertent disaster, most notably how he came to lose two wives and two daughters and how he came to hang out in the White House with George W.
Bush and his henchmen, Chaingang and Rumbum. Entertaining for sure. And sad, as our surpassingly unreliable narrator becomes more clearly unhinged. Doctorow has lost nothing as a literary stylist and once you adjust to the lack of a driving plot and start to appreciate the gradual peeling back of layers of thought and memory, there are pleasures to be found here. Living in Andrew's brain just wasn't as interesting as being transported to 's New Rochelle, a Civil War battlefield or even Homer and Langley's crumbling brownstone.
Dec 31, L Fleisig rated it it was amazing. Red is grey and yellow white. But we decide which is right. And which is an illusion? Both types of people suffer from chronic bad luck of one sort or another. The difference is that while the schlemiel is the type of person that trips while carrying a tray of soup in the cafeteria, the schlimazel is the person it "Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight. The difference is that while the schlemiel is the type of person that trips while carrying a tray of soup in the cafeteria, the schlimazel is the person it lands on.
Doctorow's compelling new novel, Andrew's Brain, the protagonist Andrew is the schlemiel whilst all those closest to him end up being schlimazels. Although not technically a mystery this book is one which can easily be spoiled by too full a description of the narrative. So I will start with some broad brush strokes and leave the rest to be discovered by the reader. Andrew is talented and smart; he is a cognitive scientist with multiple degrees.
His life, if his interior monologue is to be believed, has been dogged by a series of unfortunate events. Those events have left him physically unharmed. The physical harm involved has always struck those closest to him. The story is told mostly through the voice of Andrew's interior monologue and in snippets of conversation with another person, perhaps a psychiatrist or some other person tasked with getting Andrew's story told.
But the lack of physical harm is no indicator that Andrew has not been damaged and it appeared clear to me from the start that Andrew's monologue was really getting to the edges of his role in these events. Doctorow paints around those edges and it appeared to me that the reader is left to cut through those edges and find some way to burrow between the lines and dig deeper into Andrew's brain. Andrew's Brain is one of those books that had me puzzled from the start. After the story ended I was still puzzled in many respects but it was a puzzlement that left me thinking about the story and its meaning well after I finished reading it.
I had a visceral reaction to the story. Unsettled as I may have been at not having Andrew's deeper thoughts explained to me it left me no alternative but to personalize the events and substitute my brain for Andrew's. What would I have thought, how would I have reacted, how would I attribute fault, if fault there was, for the events that transpired around me. Would I blame myself? Did my thoughts presage or facilitate these events? Would I be cognitive enough to know the difference? As noted above, it is hard to discuss this book adequately without laying out critical spoilers.
And that for me is an indication of the power of the book. It is a book that is enriched by discussing it afterwards. I do not belong to any book clubs but this seems to me to be a book club's dream, one that would create a rich discussion in which it is likely that every member will have a different vision of what it said and what it meant to them.
I very much enjoyed Andrew's Brain. It is a book I continue to think about and for this reason alone I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone willing to put their brain in Andrew's place, look at a life filled with sadness, and reflect upon how their own brain would hold up to the stress. View 2 comments. This novel was too bizarre and scattered and I couldn't finish it.
The narration jumps all over and I didn't care enough to see if the ending gets better. If you're a fan of experimental fiction, you might appreciate this more than me. View all 3 comments. Aug 30, Mike rated it really liked it. I have tried to think of a word - a single word that is suggested by reading this book. Fascinating is too remote, to inexact. Surprising has no real connotation. Unsettling is good because it reflects the fact that the narration is of a type I am not used to reading and it takes time to be brought in to Andrew's brain, Not the book title, but the neurological narrator.
Yes, but while the brain takes us on a path that is convoluted, like the brain itself, and it provides social and p I have tried to think of a word - a single word that is suggested by reading this book. Yes, but while the brain takes us on a path that is convoluted, like the brain itself, and it provides social and political commentary, it is also muddled and at times confusing.
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It is not always pleasant, it is often unpredictable, the antagonists are neither likable or horrible. The events are both world shaking and mundane. Maybe the word I want is provoking. Doctorow has found a new voice - the brain - but of course the brain, while it controls speech, controls or manipulates thought cannot express itself without the resource of the person and in this case the presence of the psychiatrist who is us because it is the interjection in a stream of consciousness. Andrew is not just the owner of the brain, he is in fact a brain scientist and the psychiatrist is trained to probe and challenge the brain.
We see the brain in this as outside the individual. The brain can generate thought, expand beyond the immediate reality. It can conjecture, it can analysis and it can create decision or indecision. It is conscious and unconscious and which is us? It is a computer and it is an emotional sponge. It misfires and it makes insightful conclusions.
It is a mind and a soul if we let it be. It is the function that truly stops life, more than the heart and lungs and tissues. So this ride through a life is incomplete because it is streaming images and ideas and events in a way that only a brain could perceive them or at least the way that the author sees a brain sorting out the world.
And therefore it is not always sequential and images flash by that we want to hold on and examine, but they move past quickly because the destination is somewhere else. The psychiatrist occasionally inserts a statement that the reader might want to make - why did it take so long to say that? But of course that is because the brain of the psychiatrist is like the reader - outside the brain that is spilling a sequence that can only come from one source - the self in the center of the tale.
Or perhaps it is a collective mind with patches of previous existence - all existence. The reader will find a mind in despair, we are not privileged to know where the story will take us, how it will end, even if it will end and as a reviewer I cannot tell you the ending - I can only share the journey. Nov 26, Jill rated it it was ok Shelves: first-reads. If you're interested in reading the ramblings of a self-adsorbed man who lacks maturity, then this book is for you. The last third of the book becomes completely topsy-turvy and ridiculous.
This is my first book by E. So is this brain pretending to be me thinking about it? Doctorow is an exercise in mental manipulation. Our protagonist Andrew is a professor of cognitive science. He studies the mind, not the brain…Andrew gives the definition to unreliable narrator and as a result this story is not an easy read.
First, this is the first E. Doctorow book that I have rea 4. Doctorow book that I have read…Shame on me!!! What a gifted writer. I was blown away by the brilliance of his prose, his style, and his structure. It has been a while since I have read such an eloquent author…Wow, I am an instant fan. This story is the life of Andrew, a man with mental obsessions, problems, and maybe illness too. We get told his story in an often disjointed way that adds to the confusion. I loved it! I cannot give anything away but I will say that this is a book that I will tell my friends and family to read.
It is a great piece of fiction. It is self-consuming. And that is not very reassuring if you mean to depend on the world for your consciousness. Is it? If consciousness exists without the world, it is nothing, and if it needs the world to exist, it is still nothing. They make our decisions before we make them. They lead us to still waters. They renounceth free will. And it gets weirder: If you slice a brain down the middle, the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere will operate self-sufficiently and not know what the other is doing.
Just follow your star. Live in the presumptions of the socially constructed life. Abhor science. Sort of believe in God. Put your failings behind you. Present your self-justifications to the bathroom mirror. Jan 25, Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it Shelves: american-fiction. Let me just say at the beginning here that I loved this book, but I didn't realize how much I liked it until it was over. Add this one to your list of most-unreliable-narrator novels, or just to your list of books you should definitely read.
Or Let me just say at the beginning here that I loved this book, but I didn't realize how much I liked it until it was over. Or maybe not, depending on how you choose to read it. Or not. Plus, it would sort of be unfair to spill its contents -- doing so might throw prospective readers into major spoiler alert territory. I'll say this: Andrew's Brain is something very different than anything I've seen before. Forget the usual linear narrative format, and forget any kind of basic quasi-understanding normally provided by the author that all will be explained.
The book focuses on how we view brain and mind, memories, free will and fate, truth and deception, and overall how we see ourselves. At the same time, Andrew muses about the mind as a "kind of jail" for the brain, which according to him, can often pretend to be one's soul, posing the question of one's ability to actually know and understand one's self. Reading this novel took me on an interesting ride. The narrative started feeling way too random and repetitive at times, and while my normal thing to do when I read a novel with an unreliable narrator is to try and figure out what's really going on, this time I started getting frustrated and felt like giving up.
But then I thought, this is E.
Doctorow, an author I've been reading for years, so there's got to be something here I'm missing. So midway through, I started completely over, relaxed, and changed my own way of thinking about the whole thing. Suddenly the randomness and the flashes of repetition made sense, as I came to realize that this book is offering an opportunity to look through a window at how this person's traumatized brain works, making for a much better reading experience and allowing me to become more comfortable with what was going on here.
With apologies for being so vague here, I don't want my take on it to ruin anyone else's appreciation. This novel is getting very mixed reviews, but I found it intriguing and I had a lot of fun trying to figure things out after I'd finished it, coming up with several different interpretations of what I'd just read, all of which made perfectly good sense to me. It's often funny and is populated by some very interesting characters here and there; at the same time, it can be downright heartbreaking. You can find professional reviews that will tell you more, but I'd strongly suggest not reading them.
My thanks to the people at Random House -- I've given my ARC to another reader and bought a real copy of this novel to revisit later. The challenge of going through it again is just irresistible. Jan 24, LitReactor added it. Yes, this is not the E. Doctorow you know. Don't bug out, though, okay? I mean, the dude is 83 and has won or been nominated for every major fiction award since his career began in Let's cut him some slack, yeah?
Really, you should. Because Andrew's Brain is — oh, I'm trying not to overreact here, believe me, but I know, I know. Billy Bathgate! The March!
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Dude's got chops. Dude's got a shelf full of Yes, this is not the E. Dude's got a shelf full of BOSS. But the great thing about what Doctorow's done before is that he can take chances now. Andrew's Brain is most definitely a chance. I'm glad he took it. This Andrew, this guy with the brain, he's such a bitch, honestly.
Guy blames himself for every damn thing that's gone wrong in his life, in the lives of those around him, hell, in the world at large, it seems.