From the Publisher
“Science is an elixir that sweeps characters under its spell. Yet the pace of [Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain] is driven as much, if not more, by the reader’s romantic appetiteby an itch to discover how each story is romantically resolved and connected to the long lineage.”New York Times Book Review
“Good literary fiction about science and scientists is hard to find, probably because it is so hard to write. . . Fortunately there are some writers who bridge the gap well: Richard Powers, Andrea Barrett, and Alan Lightman, to name a few. And, now, Kirsten Menger-Anderson, whose debut, Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain, offers sharp, entertaining, moving, and above all provocative stories about doctors and their work and raises profound questions about the role of medicine in American life. . . Darkly funny, often sad, frequently frightening, and sometimes hopeful, they are the product of a gifted literary writer. . . Let us hope writers like Menger-Anderson indeed, books themselves are still around to poke holes in the hype and document, as she has done so deftly here.”Boston Globe
“The year's…gems included…Kirsten Menger-Anderson's creepy first collection, Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain.” Sun Sentinel, Best book of 2008
“A thriller that spans five centuries, Doctor Olaf Van Schuler’s Brain is entertaining and thought provoking. . . This book is eerie, smart, unique, and very delicately crafted, telling many stories in every layer of time. . . Truly a pleasure to read.”Feminist Review
Menger-Anderson's vivid and original collection follows several generations of New York doctors and charts the social and political forces that shaped New York City from the 17th century to today. Dr. Olaf van Schuler emigrates from Holland to New Amsterdam in 1664 and continues his study of animal brains. After he has a child by Adalind Steenwycks, each subsequent generation spins out in its own story, concluding with Dr. Elizabeth Steenwycks, the medical researcher daughter of Dr. Stuart Steenwycks, a plastic surgeon dying of a rare and fatal brain malady. Each generation applies the then current medical wisdom to tasks as varied as explaining a death by spontaneous combustion, resuscitating a boy's corpse and using phrenology to predict human behavior. In the early 1970s, Americans' obsession with their body image arises in the woeful tale of Sheila Talbot, 21, whose leaky breast implants hark back to the less-than-helpful medicine practiced in previous generations. The reader can follow how far medicine has advanced, but, surprisingly, note how human suffering and misery hasn't come such a long way. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.