A luminous and unforgettable first novel by an astonishing new voice in fiction, hailed by Esquire magazine as “one of America’s best young writers.”
Samson Greene, a young and popular professor at Columbia, is found wandering in the Nevada desert. When his wife, Anna, comes to bring him home, she finds a man who remembers nothing, not even his own name. The removal of a small brain tumor saves his life, but his memories beyond the age of twelve are permanently lost.
Here is the story of a keenly intelligent, sensitive man returned to a life in which everything is strange and new. An emigrant from his own life, set free from all that once defined him, Samson Greene believes he has nothing left to lose. So, when a charismatic scientist asks him to participate in a bold experiment, he agrees. Launched into a turbulent journey that takes him to the furthest extremes of solitude and intimacy, what he gains is nothing short of the revelation of what it means to be human.
A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers but hasn't received a starred or boxed review.MAN WALKS INTO A ROOMNicole Krauss. Doubleday, (256p) This elegiac first novel achieves a kind of beguiling dreamy tenderness as it tells the story of Samson Greene, a seemingly happy, well-adjusted English professor whose life is thrown wildly out of kilter by a small brain tumor. It is discovered only after he suddenly leaves home and is found wandering in the Nevada desert. Once the tumor is removed, he can remember nothing beyond the age of 12, so that his adult existence, his friends, his professional life and especially his wife, Anna, are a profound mystery to him. He and Anna try to resume their lives, but it is no good pretending that things can be as they were. Eventually Samson leaves again, this time for an experimental research station, also in the Western desert, where attempts are being made to graft the memories of one human into another's mind. Samson becomes friends with another resident at the station, an elderly eccentric called Donald, but when Donald's memories are grafted into Samson's mind, they are of a test nuclear explosion he witnessed as a young soldier. Adrift again, and even more disillusioned, Samson convinces himself he must find his medical records and also determine where his dead mother is buried; he succeeds in both endeavors, one with the aid of a drunken teenager in Las Vegas, the other with a senile uncle and achieves a kind of hard-won reconciliation to his lot. This outline of the story suggests a somber tale full of dark symbolism, but in fact it is surprisingly lighthearted, sharply observant and often touching. Krauss is a sure writer thoroughly in control of her material, and she creates, in Donald and Uncle Max, a pair of memorable characters. Only the ending, from the viewpoint of Anna, the lost wife, fails to bring quite the expected epiphany.
This version is missing pages in the beginning and probably several pages of the end of part 1. Don't buy until fixed.