Andrew's Brain

Andrew's Brain

by E. L. Doctorow
2.3 9

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Overview

Andrew's Brain by E. L. Doctorow

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, SLATE, AND THE THELEGRAPH

This brilliant new novel by an American master, the author of Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, Billy Bathgate, and The March, takes us on a radical trip into the mind of a man who, more than once in his life, has been the inadvertent agent of disaster.
 
Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times—funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound. Andrew’s Brain is a surprising turn and a singular achievement in the canon of a writer whose prose has the power to create its own landscape, and whose great topic, in the words of Don DeLillo, is “the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history.”

Praise for Andrew’s Brain
 
“Too compelling to put down . . . fascinating, sometimes funny, often profound . . . Andrew is a provocatively interesting and even sympathetic character. . . . The novel seamlessly combines Doctorow’s remarkable prowess as a literary stylist with deep psychological storytelling pitting truth against delusion, memory and perception, consciousness and craziness. . . . [Doctorow] takes huge creative risks—the best kind.”USA Today
 
“Cunning [and] sly . . . This babbling Andrew is a casualty of his times, binding his wounds with thick wrappings of words, ideas, bits of story, whatever his spinning mind can unspool for him. One of the things that makes [Andrew] such a terrific comic creation is that he’s both maddeningly self-delusive and scarily self-aware: He’s a fool, but he’s no innocent.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“A tantalising tour de force . . . a journey worth taking . . . With exhilarating brio, the book plays off . . . two contrasting takes on mind and brain. . . . [Andrew’s Brain encompasses] an astonishing range of modes: vaudeville humour, tragic romance, philosophical speculation. . . . It fizzes with intellectual energy, verbal pyrotechnics and satiric flair.”The Sunday Times (London)
 
“Dramatic . . . cunning and beautiful . . . strange and oddly fascinating, this book: a musing, a conjecture, a frivolity, a deep interrogatory, a hymn.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Provocative . . . a story aswirl in a whirlpool of neuroscience, human relations, loss, guilt and recent American history . . . Doctorow reveals his mastery in the sheen of a text that is both window and mirror. Reading his work is akin to soaring in a glider. Buoyed by invisible breath, readers encounter stunning vistas stretching to horizons they’ve never imagined.”The Plain Dealer

“Andrew’s ruminations can be funny, and his descriptions gorgeous.”—Associated Press

“[An] evocative, suspenseful novel about the deceptive nature of human consciousness.”More
 
“A quick and acutely intelligent read.”Entertainment Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400068814
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/14/2014
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

E. L. Doctorow’s works of fiction include Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, Billy Bathgate, The Waterworks, City of God, The March, Homer & Langley, and Andrew’s Brain. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/ Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction. In 2014 he was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Hometown:

Sag Harbor, New York, and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 6, 1931

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

A.B., Kenyon College, 1952; postgraduate study, Columbia University, 1952-53

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Andrew's Brain: A Novel 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The eponymous Andrew reminds me of the Al Capp (Li’l Abner) character, Joe Mxstlpk, who walked under a black cloud and was followed by a calamity wherever he went. That is the story told by this Andrew, presumably to a psychologist or “shrink,” of his life: the trials and tribulations, loves and losses, highs and lows. In a way, the novel also reminds me somewhat of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” except that it is written in clear prose and complete sentences. The tale is related in a disjointed stream of consciousness, flitting from topic to topic, but is grouped into eleven “chapters,” various phases of Andrew’s life. Apparently, Mr. Doctorow set out to write a book of very different quality than his previous efforts, which include such popular novels as “World’s Fair,” “Billy Bathgate,” Loon Lake” and “Ragtime” [which also found its way into a hit musical]. It is unfortunate that this novel may not attract readers of his previous work, although it should gain plenty of critical acclaim. As such, it is recommended.
HoldenCJ More than 1 year ago
E.L. Doctorow is one of my favorite writers -- probably my favorite living author. I've read everything by him and have read many of his books more than once. This book ended up being a great disappointment. Sure, all the beautiful poetic prose is there but it quickly turns into a long, boring political diatribe. OK, we get it. Doctorow doesn't like Bush. I didn't need 200 grueling pages to figure that one out. It's a one-sided view into a presidency wrapped up in a mean-spirited, elitist binder. What could have been a great story ends up being a petty political treatise. Get off your soapbox, Doctorow! It's not a good look for you. Other books weave in your political leanings but not in such a boring and uninspired way. (And, actually, the Blame Bush methodology has become, in general, just a little tired and overworked these days.) This book, which I so long anticipated and started reading with fanaticism, became drudgery half-way through. I celebrated when I finally got to the end, not because it was a great book but because it wasn't, and because I want to read great things by Doctorow, not whiney harangues
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would give the book a 3.5. It is a not light, easy read. On subject matter I would give it a three. However, I liked the way of storytelling and would give the style of narration a four. It took me a while to realize that Andrew is probably talking to his mental health therapist and that Andrew, in my opinion, is insane (literally has delusions). The story winds about in terms of time and place. Unlike many other reviewers, I found I believed Andrew's version of the facts. The book is more of a novella or long short story than a true novel. At first I did not like Andrew; I saw him as a self-absorbed academic. However, he convinced me that he really did love his second wife. The piece reads like a work of modern fiction where one wishes that it was less realistic but rather had a stronger plot or central theme. Its appeal is more to the head then to the heart. It reminded me a little of either a Kafka or Chekov story. I would call this book an interesting rather than entertaining work of fiction. Thanks to Random House and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance review copy of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish they had a zero star rating. Luckily, the book was very short so I suffered through to the end. While starting with an interesting concept, the writer got lost about halfway through and turned to the old reliable September 11th link followed by completely directionless whining about President Bush. A complete waste of time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rambling therapy sessions with a really pretentious guy who over thinks everything and is very negative. As it comes together in the middle, I started to feel rather sorry for him because you realize something really awful happened. If the author had continued with that, it might have been a really good novel. Instead, he went off on a ridiculous tangent and ruined the whole thing.
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BonnieMcCune More than 1 year ago
Complex, confusing, intriguing. We don't know if Andrew is talking to himself, a psychologist, a guard, an orderly. We don't know if Andrew is split into himself, his brain, and the third party. Still through all of this we gain an understanding of this human and the many terrible incidents he's had to live through. Humor does exist, too, in the insights into the workings of the White House. A challenge, but fulfilling when you're done. If you're into writing styles, this is one to savor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably the worst book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!