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From best-selling author Joyce Carol Oates, a taut and fascinating novel that examines the mysteries of human memory and personality.
In 1965, a young research scientist named Margot Sharpe meets Elihu Hoopes, the subject of her study, a handsome amnesiac who cannot remember anything beyond the last 70 seconds. Over the course of 30 years, the two embark on mirroring journeys of self-discovery.
Margot, enthralled by her charming, mysterious, and deeply lonely patient, as well as her officious supervisor, attempts to unlock Eli's shuttered memories of a childhood trauma without losing her own sense of identity in the process. And Eli, haunted by memories of an unknown girl's body underneath the surface of a lake, pushes to finally know himself once again, despite potentially devastating consequences.
As Margot and Eli meet over and over again, Joyce Carol Oates' tightly written, nearly clinical prose propels the lives of these two characters forwards, both suspended in a dream-like, shadowy present, and seemingly balanced on the thinnest, sharpest of lines between past and future.
Made vivid by Oates' eye for detail and searing insight into the human psyche, The Man Without a Shadow is an eerie, ambitious, and structurally complex novel, as poignant as it is thrilling.
"This complexly suspenseful and darkly erotic duel between a lovesick mad scientist and her beleaguered yet far from helpless subject illuminates, with strobe-light intensity, the labyrinthine mysteries of our brains and minds." ( Booklist)
"A powerful new novel.... We see how, in the hands of a great writer, a gripping story can be torn from the poisonous rubble." (Rose Tremain, Guardian (on The Sacrifice)
"Oates demonstrates a fearlessness in her writing. The book has the energy and force of a river in full flow, filled with dangerous undercurrents and eddies." ( Daily Mail (on The Sacrifice)
"Visceral and hypnotizing...simmers with barely concealed rage at the impotence inflicted on people by race and gender inequalities." (Lesley McDowell, Independent (on The Sacrifice)