A dazzling debut that is at once a lightly erudite novel of ideas and a darkly charming love story set on an island off the coast of Maine-the perfect sophisticated summer read.
By turns funny, charming, and tragic, Rosecrans Baldwin's debut novel takes us inside the heart and mind of Dr. Victor Aaron, a leading Alzheimer's researcher at the Soborg Institute on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Victor spends his days alternating between long hours in the sterile lab and running through memories of his late wife, Sara. He has preserved their marriage as a sort of perfect, if tumultuous, duet between two opposite but precisely compatible souls.
But one day, in the midst of organizing his already hyperorganized life, Victor discovers a series of index cards covered in Sara's handwriting. They chronicle the major "changes in direction" of their marriage, written as part of a brief fling with couples counseling. Sara's version of their great love story is markedly different from his own, which, for the eminent memory specialist, is a startling revelation. Victor is forced to reevaluate and relive each moment of their marriage, never knowing is the revisions will hurt or hearten. Meanwhile, as Victor's faith in memory itself unravels, so too does his precisely balanced support network, a group of strong women-from his lab assistant to Aunt Betsy, doddering doyenne of the island-that had, so far, allowed him to avoid grieving.
Rosecrans Baldwin shows himself here to be a young writer bursting with talent and imagination who deftly handles this aching love story with sensitivity and unexpected maturity. You Lost Me There is a treasure of a book filled with beautiful, intelligent prose, a book that wears its smarts lightly and probes its emotions deeply.
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A famed neuroscientist learns potent lessons about the fallibility of memory in Baldwin's underwhelming debut, a highbrow melodrama that stretches for resonance and is narrated by noted Alzheimer's researcher Dr. Victor Aaron, who works at a small but prestigious Maine lab and grieves the death of his screenwriter wife, Sara. Victor finds a series of note cards that recount key moments in their 33-year marriage, but Victor's memories of the same events are either missing or differ, and it becomes clear there were longstanding issues in the marriage notably that Victor felt threatened by Sara's success and wasn't supportive of her work. Victor does the normal confused and grieving middle-aged man things becomes fixated on his laments, takes a younger lover and eventually finds himself hosting his goddaughter, Cornelia, who inadvertently provides the clue that allows Victor to discover Sara's final, unfinished screenplay. Sara's perspective here limited to her note cards is affecting and provides the novel its best moments. Unfortunately, readers are stuck for the most part with Victor, whose unsympathetic culpability and fundamental blandness sap narrative energy and make much of the novel feel like filler.
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