Review: The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates

🌟🌟🌟& 1/2

Recommend to lovers of Philosophical suspense (IF there is such a thing!)

I wanted to give the story a full four stars, but there were a few things that hung me up.

The book is about a neuro-psychologist who falls in love with her amnesiac subject. The man can remember all of his early life up to his sickness, and yet lives in the present in a constant seventy second memory loop. He can form no new memories. The main character is part of a team of scientists studying his memory and behavior for insights into how the brain works.

I won’t lie. I devoured the book as voraciously as my schedule would let me, and I did enjoy reading it. Here were my hang ups: the main character seems even more unhinged than her patient. There is a mysterious undercurrent from the amnesiac’s childhood that is resolved in a way that felt unresolved. And the story ends super abruptly, almost as if the author was like: “Okay! Moving on now…”

It isn’t a happy book, but it is well written and the suspense teased me through each chapter.


Have any of you read The Man With a Shadow? How about any other Joyce Carol Oates novels? This was my first foray into her literature, and I did enjoy reading it.

If you have any recommendations for future reading, please leave me a reply. You might just see your favorites end up on my TBR.

Happy Reading, Prose Lovers!


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