The Echo Maker is an elegiac and astonishing work of art. It is so real, I believe I know what it is like to experience a rare form of brain damage in which I perceive my own sister (and even my dog) to be an imposter, or to be that person’s sister. I also believe I know what it would be like to grow up in the small town of Kearney, Nebraska, and to stay or return there. The author’s narration of the book’s events through the cognitive processes of the main characters is masterful and powerful.
The Echo Maker is also about the ancient and endangered sandhill cranes that return each year to this particular place on the Earth, what they mean to humans, and how they are threatened by greed and real estate development.