You Lost Me There
By Rosecrans Baldwin
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594487637, 304pp.)
Publication Date: August 12, 2010
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A dazzling debut that is at once a lightly erudite novel of ideas and a darkly charming love story set on an island off the coast of Maine-the perfect sophisticated summer read.
By turns funny, charming, and tragic, Rosecrans Baldwin's debut novel 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.
Rosecrans Baldwin shows himself here to be a young writer bursting with talent and imagination who deftly handles this aching love story with sensitivity and unexpected maturity. You Lost Me There is a treasure of a book filled with beautiful, intelligent prose, a book that wears its smarts lightly and probes its emotions deeply.
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Rosecrans Baldwin is a founding editor of the popular website The Morning News, host of the annual “Tournament of Books.” His work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Nation, on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and he currently writes “The Digital Ramble,” for The Moment, a New York Times blog. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife.
"You Lost Me There is a work of lucid literary art, roisterous wit, and close, wry knowledge of the vexed circuits of the human mind and heart."
-Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
"Rosecrans Baldwin has written a gorgeously atmospheric novel about scientist Victor Aaron, who appears to be as craggy and cold as the Maine island where he lives. But Baldwin's storytelling grace is so delicate that the reader never doubts the deep emotional ache in this man of intellect, the joy that co-exists with his grief, or the underground river of love so deep it perversely paralyzes him. You Lost Me There,/I> is a smart, tender, and generous novel."
-Lauren Groff, author of Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds
"You Lost Me There is a wise, antic, and often hilarious novel about grief. And also about love and marriage, remembering and forgetting, neuroscience and Bruce Willis. It's full of knife-sharp dialogue and wonderful characters. This is a terrific debut that makes you yearn for the most unexpected things. I loved it."
-Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector and About Grace
"Rosecrans Baldwin has written a lovely novel exploring the fraught nature of love and memory. He deftly interweaves the science of how we remember with the experience of love, so that as the plot unfolds, we aren't just learning about a marriage-we're also learning about how an analytic brain grapples with questions of the heart."
-Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide