The Man Without a Shadow: A Novel

The Man Without a Shadow: A Novel

by Joyce Carol Oates


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The Man Without a Shadow: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates

In this taut and fascinating novel, the bestselling, New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of The Sacrifice, The Accursed, and Lovely, Dark, Deep examines the mysteries of memory, personality, and identity and pierces the enigmatic force that drives human lives—love.

In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets the attractive, charismatic Elihu Hoopes—the “man without a shadow”—whose devastated memory, unable to store new experiences or to retrieve the old, will make him the most famous and most studied amnesiac in history. Over the course of the next thirty years, Margot herself becomes famous for her experiments with E. H.—and inadvertently falls in love with him, despite the ethical ambiguity of their affair, and though he remains forever elusive and mysterious to her, haunted by mysteries of the past.

The Man Without a Shadow tracks the intimate, illicit relationship between Margot and Eli, as scientist and subject embark upon an exploration of the labyrinthine mysteries of the human brain. Where does “memory” reside? Where is “love”? Is it possible to love an individual who cannot love you, who cannot “remember” you from one meeting to the next?

Made vivid by her exceptional eye for detail and her keen insight into the human psyche, The Man Without A Shadow is a unique story of forbidden love, a kind of secret, evolving marriage, depicted in Joyce Carol Oates’s tight, impassioned prose. It is an uncanny, ambitious, and structurally complex novel that penetrates the mind and illuminates the heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062416100
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 409,618
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

June 16, 1938

Place of Birth:

Lockport, New York


B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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The Man Without a Shadow 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
silencenomore More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates does not disappoint! I own most of her books. This one takes a different turn. A genius contracting a brain fever (meningitis) gets amnesia. The research scientist Margot becomes attached to E.H. The journey describes the daily study of this extraordinary E.H. and his new difficulties in memory retention. The thoughts in his mind are balanced with reality. The book includes an insight to the choices in a laboratory and medical setting. How a genius mind can retain certain memory and not others. The family development and relations after this devastating illness. A taste of Margot's personal life and choices. An incredible story of human rights. The compassion one develops in the medical field. The possibility we are all test subjects in a world of study and medical choices. I recommend this book for any reader who is a Joyce Carol Oates fan. A reader who wishes to start reading her books. Or someone who wishes a strong good read, for a duration of a few days or so. Thank you Joyce Carol Oates, I look forward to your next book. I rate this book a solid 4 stars. I purchased this book for my own personal collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is obvious that Oates husband Charlie Gross had a huge hand in the crafting of this story which at times was far more technical than the average reader might enjoy . While the plot was interesting , the story would have been better served as a short story rather than an entire novel.