Man Walks Into a Room

Nicole Krauss

Published by Anchor, 2003
ISBN 10: 0385721919 / ISBN 13: 9780385721912
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Synopsis: 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.

Review: Nicole Krauss's elegant, haunting debut, Man Walks into a Room, is a what-if novel. What if, asks Krauss, a man woke up one day and he'd forgotten everything he knows? Samson Greene is found lost in the desert near Las Vegas, memory-less thanks to a tumor "applying its arbitrary, pernicious pressure to his brain." Once the tumor is removed, he can remember his childhood up until his 12th year, but then all is blank. He returns to New York, to his wife Anna, to his life as a Columbia University English professor, but none of these things makes sense to him anymore: "Samson could dredge up no feeling for his own life but that of vague admiration." When he receives a call from a mysterious scientist inviting him back to the desert for a sinister-sounding memory experiment, Samson heads West with a kind of despondent fatalism. Krauss's novel moves gracefully from exploration of a lost soul to science fiction to a meditation on memory. If the book unravels a bit at the end, it's only because Krauss is trying to do too much--certainly no literary sin. --Claire Dederer

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Title: Man Walks Into a Room
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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