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Publisher's Summary

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal. 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.
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Critic Reviews

Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2003


Favorite Audiobooks of 2010 (Fantasy Literature)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Andrew on 01-02-09

Totally Recommended!

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.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful


By Holly Helscher on 12-22-08

Unexpected Interest

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.

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31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Helen on 10-23-09

Gripping story

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.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Bridie on 04-16-11

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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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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