Written by a neuroscientist with soul, this novel goes down easy as a tall tale in the shade on a hot day. A scientist very like the author is drawn to a street performer whose music is stunning while her memories are dissolving due to dementia. Our hero teases out a web of coincidences to discover who she is, who she was, and who is forever touched by her today (including him). In the course of the story, we also meditate a bit on mind, memory, and how do you define a person if that person does not always remember herself?
Added bonus: As it's set in New Orleans, which is a character in the story, readers also get a tour of the city, including sights, history, and food you shouldn't miss. I read the book in four hours on the plane trip to NOLA, and couldn't wait to start taking its advice.
I'm still thinking about some of the ideas, including: "The Internet is the brain's mirror, its counterpart; there is nothing cold or alien about it" (p. 183)
"It's like we're all actors in a play she wrote, but none of us know our lines and just have to improvise off hers," Elvira said.
Cruz was silent as he let that idea sink in. Later that night he began to think that Elivira's description of improvisation could be true for anybody. All people enact plays in their heads that correspond to their thoughts, feelings, emotions, cognitions, and histories. Human beings externally act out an internal drama again and again and often leave the real people in their wake dumbfounded by how they didn't listen and merely heard what their biases expected to hear.