Let’s keep this short and to the point. This is about a man who suffers brain damage and afterwards recognizes everyone but his own sister. Crane migrations bookend and structure the novel. And, sadly, there’s not much else to report from such fertile ground. If you have time to read, you’d be better off reading something else. Edgar Rice Burroughs, for example. At least then, you could amuse yourself by trying to read run-on sentences out load before you run out of breath. The Echo Maker just makes you run out of patience.
In all seriousness, the characters, setting, and central plot device had potential. I just found it dull, and poorly executed. A great novel is, as Kafka said, an axe for the frozen sea inside of us. The Echo Maker is more of a Fisher-Price plastic hammer banging on the north face of our Eiger.
I know it’s easy to trash a book. But for all the hype, and the National Book Award, The Echo Maker just didn’t deliver.