May 16th, 2007

toothybear

The Echo Makers

The Echo Makers by Richard Powers is the best novel I've read in the past several months. You can read the description on Amazon. It's a novel about consciousness, love, betrayal, identity, business, politics, ecology, neurology... in other words Big Ideas. But in what I regard a complete tour de force of writing, it is also a ripping yarn, a fast paced novel that integrates big ideas seamlessly into character and narrative.

I bogged down early and never finished Gold Bug Variations, which is another of his 'big' novels. It moved way too slow and collapsed under the weight of its stylistic excesses. But he seemed to have learned how to make a novel that scratches the readers itch in a good way, without shortchanging the subjects he discusses in favor of melodrama.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, it's got a lot of Brain Science in it, and an Oliver Sacks-esque neurologist having a crisis of scientific faith. Yeah I'm talking to you dnonwoo.
UPDATE2: Margaret Atwood, on The Echo Makers