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The Diagnosis

A Novel
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
2 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alan Lightman's first novel, Einstein's Dreams, was greeted with international praise. Salman Rushdie called it "at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written." Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times that the novel creates "a magical, metaphysical realm . . . as in Calvino's work, the fantastical elements of the stories are grounded in precise, crystalline prose." With The Diagnosis, Lightman gives us his most ambitious and penetrating novel yet. 

While rushing to his office one warm summer morning, Bill Chalmers, a junior executive, realizes that he cannot remember where he is going or even who he is. All he remembers is the motto of his company: The maximum information in the minimum time. 

When Bill's memory returns, "his head pounding, remembering too much", a strange numbness afflicts him, beginning as a tingling in his hands and gradually spreading over the rest of his body. As he attempts to find a diagnosis of his illness, he descends into a nightmare, enduring a blizzard of medical tests and specialists without conclusive results, the manic frenzy of his company, and a desperate wife who decides that he must be imagining his deteriorating condition. 

By turns satiric, comic, and tragic, The Diagnosis is a brilliant and disturbing examination of our modern obsession with speed, information, and money, and what this obsession has done to our minds and our spirits.

©2000 Alan Lightman (P)2000 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The Diagnosis is packed with dark power and awful humor. Lightman's intelligence, imagination, and clarity of style mark him as one of the most brilliant contemporary American writers." (Annie Proulx) 

"I know of no novel that captures the technological horror and pervasive spiritual poverty of our wildly prosperous land in so powerful a way as The Diagnosis. It is haunting." (Norman Mailer)

"A darkly affecting book." (Publishers Weekly)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • deb
  • Utah
  • 04-21-05

The Diagnosis

A well written book however, the story line is so depressing it was painfull to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • janesville, WI, USA
  • 05-05-05

YAWN!!!

I couldn't believe how boring this book was. The begining is the best part, then it just seems to ramble. I agree that there are many loose ends in the book. And I also agree that there are sad parts. I spent a lot of time rewinding this book. I couldn't stay focused. There was a lot of pointless description. This book just didn't do it for me. Sorry to say, this book is good for falling asleep to.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Melanie
  • Kanab, UT, United States
  • 09-12-06

Help

I am almost done with the 1st part of this book and wondering if I should go on. As one of the reviewers said, get an abridged edition. Then you won't have to listen to every email address and also have to listen to the Plato lesson his son bought on line. To me, these were just page fillers for the author to write a bigger book. I hope this gets better but I sitll have an hour before I get to Part 2. I may not make it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

This book barely kept me interested long enough to finish. The story line was very good, but there are way too many loose ends. The story started out interesting, but then nothing else ever happens. It just ended without explanations for anything going on in the story. I see this book as pretty much a complete waste of time.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • WALTER
  • ARCADIA, CA, United States
  • 09-03-12

AVOID!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A book by another author!

Has The Diagnosis turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes, all books by Alan Lightman

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Even Scott Brick, an otherwise excellent narrator who struggles mightily with this dog, couldn't save it.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It wasn't too long.

Any additional comments?

'Tis a tale told by an idiot - full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I tried to find the good

I guess all good I can say about this book is that Scott Brick narration is as good as his usual, but the book... jeezzz, I kept waiting for something to star happening, nothing ever did.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jesse
  • Ashtabula, OH, USA
  • 05-01-06

Too much detail

This presentation contains way too much detail. The story skips around to many segments and could have been reduced to a much shorter tale and still shown what the problem was for the main character. Still, I recommend the book and would purchase it again, however, I would purchase the ABRIDGED version instead.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful