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The Man without a Shadow    by Joyce Carol Oates order for
Man without a Shadow
by Joyce Carol Oates
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates has created a novel with a character far from the norm. Neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets an amnesiac who can remember something new for only seventy seconds!

After an infection, during which an extremely high temperature destroyed a part of his brain, he was accepted into a program that would work with him for over thirty years. The object of these studies was to discover more about the part of the brain that houses memory.

Sharpe became the prime interrogator of the Man without a Shadow. This novel reads almost as a textbook while also dealing with the emotions involved. Is it possible to fall in love with a man who has no memory of you if you walk out of his room for over two minutes? Is he capable of love?

Of course, much more is involved. Thirty years is a long time to have a patient under scrutiny. Elihu Hoopes, the man in question, can remember his past. Do some of his unfortunate memories contribute to his loss of current memory?

The Man without a Shadow proves to be an outstanding novel, while also reminding readers to show compassion for those not like ourselves - as well as for their caregivers.

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