The Man Without a Shadow: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In this taut and fascinating novel, the bestselling, New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of The Sacrifice, The Accursed, and Lovely, Dark, Deep examines the mysteries of memory, personality, and identity and pierces the enigmatic force that drives human lives—love.
In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets the attractive, charismatic Elihu Hoopes—the “man without a shadow”—whose devastated memory, unable to store new experiences or to retrieve the old, will make him the most famous and most studied amnesiac in history. Over the course of the next thirty years, Margot herself becomes famous for her experiments with E. H.—and inadvertently falls in love with him, despite the ethical ambiguity of their affair, and though he remains forever elusive and mysterious to her, haunted by mysteries of the past.
The Man Without a Shadow tracks the intimate, illicit relationship between Margot and Eli, as scientist and subject embark upon an exploration of the labyrinthine mysteries of the human brain. Where does “memory” reside? Where is “love”? Is it possible to love an individual who cannot love you, who cannot “remember” you from one meeting to the next?
Made vivid by her exceptional eye for detail and her keen insight into the human psyche, The Man Without A Shadow is a unique story of forbidden love, a kind of secret, evolving marriage, depicted in Joyce Carol Oates’s tight, impassioned prose. It is an uncanny, ambitious, and structurally complex novel that penetrates the mind and illuminates the heart.
beside his bed which he surely knows how to use. As Margot approaches the bed Eli glances up at her in surprise and bewilderment—no doubt he expected one of the nursing staff since he can see that this is a hospital setting. What is painfully clear is that he has never seen Margot Sharpe before in his life. Eli lowers the newspaper and tosses the pencil aside. At once his expression is eager, hopeful. His bloodshot eyes seem to lighten. It is the identical expression (Margot is certain) she saw
Margot assures the anxious woman: Eli Hoopes’s condition has not “worsened.” Mrs. Adams has welcomed Margot Sharpe into her house—she has answered the doorbell herself, though Margot sees that there is a housekeeper or a maid in the background. Surprised at the sight of Margot—(was she expecting someone who looked older, more authoritarian? More “clinical”?)—nonetheless Mrs. Adams has ushered her into an elegant room that might be described as a “library”—(floor-to-ceiling cherrywood
here your poor mother has tried to call you too, and you never call back—Margot? Trembling badly Margot doesn’t call her brother Ned—(whom she has always feared and disliked, he is such a bully)—but instead calls her aunt Edie, her mother’s younger sister who is Margot’s favorite aunt, and she is hoping that Edie won’t pick up the phone so that she can leave a message but Edie picks up the phone on practically the first ring—“Margot! Thank God.” Upset to hear that her mother is not “doing so
enough. Poor Eli! Margot yearns to embrace him again but dares not in this public place. Haltingly E.H. says, “I have some problem with my memory—I think. I forget things I used to know—I think that is the problem.” But he seems doubtful, as if hoping he will be contradicted. “How long do you think you’ve had this problem, Eli?” “I think—maybe—six months?” E.H. speaks uncertainly, watching Margot closely. He is sensitive to something in her face for he quickly amends, “Maybe more like
E.H. has run through numerous sketchbooks in the years Margot has worked with him. In her amnesia logbook Margot will speculate: How do we know who we were, if we don’t know who we are? How do we know who we are, if we don’t know who we were? Margot escorts E.H. from the sleep lab on the first floor of the Institute to the more familiar fourth floor. When they walk together in this public place, E.H. seems to take the lead—definitely, you would not guess from E.H.’s stride that he has not the