From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Overstory, an intense, thrilling novel about a near fatal accident and its devastating consequences.
On a winter night, Mark Schluter’s truck turns over in a near-fatal accident. His sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to look after him. But when he finally awakes from his coma, Mark believes that Karin – who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister – is really an identical impostor.
Shattered by her brother’s behaviour, Karin contacts neuroscientist Dr Gerald Weber. But what Weber discovers in Mark begins to undermine even his own sense of self. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what really happened. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.
Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction
‘A psychological thriller, a flawed love story, a study of authenticity in emotions, a commentary on America's relations with itself and the world, humanity and ecology... undoubtedly magnificent’ The Times
A truck jackknifes off an "arrow straight country road" near Kearney, Nebr., in Powers's ninth novel, becoming the catalyst for a painstakingly rendered minuet of self-reckoning. The accident puts the truck's 27-year-old driver, Mark Schluter, into a 14-day coma. When he emerges, he is stricken with Capgras syndrome: he's unable to match his visual and intellectual identifications with his emotional ones. He thinks his sister, Karin, isn't actually his sister she's an imposter (the same goes for Mark's house). A shattered and worried Karin turns to Gerald Weber, an Oliver Sacks like figure who writes bestsellers about neurological cases, but Gerald's inability to help Mark, and bad reviews of his latest book, cause him to wonder if he has become a "neurological opportunist." Then there are the mysteries of Mark's nurse's aide, Barbara Gillespie, who is secretive about her past and seems to be much more intelligent than she's willing to let on, and the meaning of a cryptic note left on Mark's nightstand the night he was hospitalized. MacArthur fellow Powers (Gold Bug Variations, etc.) masterfully charts the shifting dynamics of Karin's and Mark's relationship, and his prose powerful, but not overbearing brings a sorrowful energy to every page.