In 1965, a young research scientist named Margot Sharpe meets Elihu Hoopes, the subject of her study, a handsome amnesiac who cannot remember anything beyond the last seventy seconds. Over the course of thirty years, the two embark on mirroring journeys of self-discovery. The Man Without a Shadow is an eerie, ambitious, and structurally complex novel, as poignant as it is thrilling.
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.
Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best-until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead-but her life was shattered forever. Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who´s lost everything, what is there left to lose? She´s about to find out. In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him-a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers´ attempts to understand him. And he´s issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live. The killer videotaped his latest crime-an act of horror that left a child motherless-then sent a message addressed to Agent Smoky Barrett. The message is enough to shock Smoky back to work, back to her FBI team. And that child awakens something in Smoky she thought was gone forever. Suddenly the stakes are raised. The game has changed. For as this deranged monster embarks on an unspeakable spree of perversion and murder, Smoky is coming alive again-and she´s about to face her greatest fears as a cop, a woman, a mother . . . and a merciless killer´s next victim.