Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.But then his quiet life comes under attack.
It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music - with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world - shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"?
There are intense pressures coming from the world around him - including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou...
©2002 Elizabeth Moon; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2003
Lou Arrendale is a high functioning Autistic whose world is turned upside down with the news that there may be a possible cure for his condition. Set in the near future this is a deeply absorbing story that makes for a compulsive listening experience. A deserved Nebula award winning novel that would certainly appeal to fans of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME. If you are not a Sci-Fi aficionado, relax. This is a deeply compassionate journey into the mind of a man trying to find his place in the world. Joins my all time top 10 Audio experiences.
Lou is a high functioning autistic adult working for a pharmaceutical company. A new boss decides that the supportive work environment is too costly and presents a drug trial that could very well cure adult autism. But it is not without considerable risk because although tried on primates, it has not yet been tried on humans. The first half of the story introduces the reader to Lou and his world. The second half of the story centers on Lou's decision making process about whether or not to participate in the trial. I bought this book because of a series I have read by Elizabeth Moon, although this is a stand-alone novel. Although Moon doesn't describe how her futuristic setting got there, I don't feel that is important to the overall tone or plot of the novel. Moon portrays a high functioning world of adult autism in a very capable, compassionate manner. The style of writing keeps the reader inside the autistic world without bogging down. I found it to be an interesting literary device that many writers may not have considered in writing such a piece. There were times when I felt better editing could have enhanced the novel, but overall it was a great read and certainly much different than most sci-fi or mystery novels. It unexpectedly held my interest and was worth the coin.
I was caught up in the characters and subject of un-orthodox book. I'm not sure you'd label it science fiction, but it was a wonderful read that I wanted to go on and on.
This story is told from an autistic mans point of view. It is no page turner but is not meant to be. It did hold my interest and is the second book of this kind I have read. The other is The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. I did rate that book one more star but it is only 6 hours and this book is close to 15. This is the better buy and has a better ending. I did not expect this book to end as it did. I believe I will remember the characters in this book for a long time and will probably listen again after time has passed. I do not mind paying a credit for a book I enjoy.
I read sci-fi and fantasy almost exclusively. This book is really neither. It is a very in depth look into a fictional world of an autistic man and to a lesser degree his autistic co-workers. And to my astonishment, I loved it!
I am impressed with Moon's ability to convey the complexities and nuances of an autistic point of view. I work in IT for a behavioral health company that has an Autism department, I understood nothing of what Autism was. Now I am still greatly ignorant about Autism, but I have an appreciation for the condition and an idea of what it is that I do not know. The light of knowing is replacing the dark of not knowing, the dark was faster.
The story really engaged me. As others have noted it could have been edited a bit more, but would the autistic veiwpoint have lost some of it's power and focus? I think it would have. My real complaint is that the story ended to quickly. Let me explain that, the beginning and middle were full of rich detail and viewpoints while the end was terribly rushed in comparison. Had the whole story moved at the speed of the ending then the pattern would have been balanced and symetrical, Lou would not have approved of this imbalance to the pattern. I really related to Lou's relationship with Marjorie (or is it Margery?), I could understand his side of it and I also tried to nudge him in the right direction, but of course the story followed its course no matter how much I willed it to alter it's path. Even though I felt the ending lacked the depth and detail of the rest of the story, I felt the story and message were strong enough to get 5 stars (I really wanted to award 4.5 but had to round up for this great story). I'd love to see a set of short stories to fill in some of the of viewpoints and/or to flesh out the ending (and perhaps extend the ending to fill the gap between the end of this book and the epilogue).
I was blown away with the philosophical idea that there was a "speed of dark". You will have to decide for yourself if dark has a speed. I'm not sure, but now I know that I do not know, which is better than not knowing what it is that I do not know. This made me think, is there a speed of silence?
I am different, if even in a small way, for having listened to this wonderful story.
This was a great listen. A good vehicle showing how making choices can have both really great and really sad outcomes at one and the same time. I highly recommend this novel --- makes you think and sticks with you afterwards.
Working my way through Nebula award winners - finnished Hugos last month.
This is a pretty interesting story, told from the point of view of a functioning autistic adult in a time when autism has been cured for those treated early enough. It is very well written and very well read. The performance does a great job with the various personalities in the book making it very enjoyable. The ending feels like the author was trying to get finished (but it still is interesting). While it is still a good ending, to many things are left undone. But overall, I really liked the story.
Wow. What an interesting look into an autistic mind. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but I believe it to be helpful either way. Well written, human characters, mundane, but strangely fascinating. Interesting near future tech. I will give more Moons ago
I could relate to this book, having a condition that makes me need to think about my behavior being within the norm. Elizabeth Moon did a good job but the end was a little rushed.
The summary of this book sounds intriguing, and it is rated well. I liked it at the beginning, as the author does an interesting and admirable job of getting the reader into the mind of a man who is mildly autistic and of developing his likable personality. I think the narrator does a fine job of portraying the main character as well.
However, that portion of the book continues on long, long after it has ably done it's job -- entering and far surpassing the "OK, I GET it" stage.
Finally, after 5 hours of listening, I felt that I was still in the exposition, and the the once-interesting techniques of portraying the autistic thought process had, through this overexposure, become as tedious as reading a parts catalog; and I gave up.
This book might be one that polarizes opinion -- some enjoying it greatly, and some for whom it is not at all a good fit.
Having ordered this audio book without much forethought only noticing author and title, I had presumed this would be a sci fi resd. Imagine my suprise to listen to a story about autism. Do not mistake me I was enthralled. The narration is superb, really fitting the character and the storyline has me gripped. I was disappointed when I had to pause for part 2 (forgot to download it to my ipod!) and am looking forward to the concluding part and would reccomend this to all, perhaps if you ever read Skallagrigg by William Horwood you would like this, but it does differ quite a bit from that type of telling.
"Pulled me in"
I've read a few of Moon's books and enjoyed them all. This one took some getting used to.
At first I found Ray Snyder's narration hard to take but after I settled into it I decided that he did a good job expressing the characters and conveying their emotions.
The story was a little repetitive in some aspects of the main character but I suppose that was to represent his autistic nature and I came to think of the repetitiveness as a kind of fugue, colouring my overall impression of the book with a sense of of urban otherworldliness.
The style in that regard reminded me a little of JG Ballard!
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