You Lost Me There
The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice… National Public Radio's Best Books of 2010… Best Books of Summer 2010 (TIME, Entertainment Weekly, TimeOut Chicago)… McSweeney’s Recommends… Powell’s “Writers to Watch”…
By turns funny, charming, and tragic, You Lost Me There takes us inside the heart and mind of Dr. Victor Aaron, a leading Alzheimer's researcher at the Soborg Institute on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Victor spends his days alternating between long hours in the sterile lab and running through memories of his late wife, Sara. He has preserved their marriage as a sort of perfect, if tumultuous, duet between two opposite but precisely compatible souls.
But one day, in the midst of organizing his already hyperorganized life, Victor discovers a series of index cards covered in Sara's handwriting. They chronicle the major "changes in direction" of their marriage, written as part of a brief fling with couples counseling. Sara's version of their great love story is markedly different from his own, which, for the eminent memory specialist, is a startling revelation. Victor is forced to reevaluate and relive each moment of their marriage, never knowing is the revisions will hurt or hearten. Meanwhile, as Victor's faith in memory itself unravels, so too does his precisely balanced support network, a group of strong women-from his lab assistant to Aunt Betsy, doddering doyenne of the island-that had, so far, allowed him to avoid grieving.
NPR: "A stunning debut... You Lost Me There is, finally, a wise book, the kind that eludes many authors twice Baldwin's age... Profound, affecting, and true.”
Chicago Tribune: “Memory is a trickster, a scamp, a rogue. And, as Baldwin demonstrates in his novel, it can be a heartbreaker too.”
New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice): “In fiction as in life, you can’t save people from themselves. Although that never keeps anyone from trying, as Rosecrans Baldwin’s amiable first novel demonstrates.”
Washington Post: "Baldwin’s prose is wise and nimble, clever without being self-conscious, true to the myriad voices of his characters."
The Daily Beast: “A masterful study of love, loss, and self-discovery… Baldwin has truly found his footing in this book.”
New York Observer: “In showing just how complicated memory can be, Baldwin elegantly explores how even the most analytic of minds can be flummoxed by human emotion.”
Onion A.V. Club: “Neuroscientist, know thy brain!”
The Los Angeles Times: “A mature look at relationships and memory.”
The Independent: “Closely and smoothly composed, alert all the way down to its synapses and axons, and comfortably, warmly readable.”
Paste Magazine: “The head’s tools in the landscape of the heart.”
Virginia Free Lance-Star: “Immensely readable and fascinating.”
Newsday: “Grief is good in You Lost Me There.”
Raleigh News & Observer: “Even skeptical readers can be won over by Baldwin’s assured take on the truth that - regardless of how old we are - we are all searching to be understood and loved.”
Portland Press Herald: “Baldwin has managed to take big themes - the notion of a couple’s shared history and the skewed, fickle nature of memory - and cast them into a funny, sad, insightful narrative.”
Open Letters Monthly: “Explosively good… Baldwin’s story is an elegant double helix in the nature of The GoldBug Variations.”
Three Guys One Book: “It’s a bright moment for any reader of contemporary American literature when they discover a debut novel as self-assured, as well-disciplined, as You Lost Me There.”
Photo credit: US Army Corps of Engineers - New England