Andrew's Brain Doctorow has partly made his career out of taking well-known figures — like Harry Houdini in Ragtime and the Rosenbergs in The Book of Daniel… Andrew's Brain Doctorow has partly made his career out of taking well-known figures — like Harry Houdini in Ragtime and the Rosenbergs in The Book of Daniel… 2014-01-14 Fiction Random House
Book Review

Andrew's Brain (2014)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Jan 14, 2014; Writer: E.L. Doctorow; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Random House

Doctorow has partly made his career out of taking well-known figures — like Harry Houdini in Ragtime and the Rosenbergs in The Book of Daniel — and removing their real-life specificity, softening history enough to mold it into literature. His latest protagonist, a cognitive-science professor cursed by bad luck and worse decisions, is entirely fictional but possesses a similarly malleable identity. The novel, constructed as a dialogue between Andrew and his therapist, grapples with issues of memory, consciousness, and perception in a way that's meant to resemble the internal thought process. It's a quick and acutely intelligent read, but spending all that time in one man's head can get a little claustrophobic. B

Originally posted Jan 08, 2014 Published in issue #1294 Jan 17, 2014 Order article reprints