The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates - review by Cassie Davies

Cassie Davies

I Remember

The Man Without a Shadow

By

Fourth Estate 369pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

Elihu Hoopes and Margot Sharpe meet for the first time on 17 October 1965 at the University Neurological Institute at Darven Park, Pennsylvania. Margot is twenty-four years old, a first-year graduate student working under Professor Milton Ferris at the university’s neuropsychology laboratory. She is assigned to work on ‘Project E H’. Elihu (known as Eli), a unique amnesiac case, is a patient at the institute and the subject of their memory experiments. The Man Without a Shadow follows Margot’s devotion to the project from 1965 to 1996, through the thriving success of her career and her devastating failures in love. 

While studying in a family lodge on Lake George in New York, Eli contracted a severe strain of herpes simplex encephalitis, a viral infection that spread into his brain, causing a fever that permanently destroyed an essential part of his memory. Now, his brain ‘resembles a colander through which water

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