There are several nice turns of phrase--the author is something of a wordsmith. However, the author seems to want the story to hinge on the person of a pathologist who, after performing a perfunctory autopsy upon Einstein's death, took the great man's brain as a sort of talisman or trophy--we never get much of a hint about why he did what he did or much of why the decision was made to take the brain to Einstein's granddaughter in California. There was insufficient character development of any of the main characters, and barely a story line.
Even the title became annoying because there is no place in the story where Einstein is referred to as "Mr. Albert," so "Driving Mr. Albert" appears to be an unoriginal allusion to the film (and book?) "Driving Ms. Daisy," but of course there is no real connection there either.
There were moments when the story and it's quirky characters reminded me of some of Irving's best work, like A Prayer for Owen Meany, or The World According to Garp or Cider House Rules. Other times the story was unbelievably boring, repetative and just sort of dumb. I did finish the book after a couple false stops and starts and the main characters have found a place in my heart----something Irving is very good at doing. But I can't help but think the novel could have been so much better than it was, and there were times when I felt that Irving was just having the reader on, so to speak, not serious about this or that development or bit of narrative, as if he was wasting my time all but intentionally. Still, the social commentary behind the novel is worthwhile and the story does finally come through.
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