Driving a Buick Skylark across the country with an addled octogenarian and an organ may not seem like the ripest material for a story, even if the organ is Albert Einstein's brain. In the hands of a stylish writer like Paterniti, however, the journey becomes a transcendent and hilarious exploration of heady themes like obsession, love and science. In 1955, the octogenarian, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey, removed Einstein's brain during an autopsy and, claiming he wished to study it further, took it home. In the years that followed, he sliced and shipped the brain around the world, but never relinquished most of the organ. Nor, to the criticism of colleagues, did he release his long-promised study. Forty-two years later, Harvey was finally ready to return the brain to Evelyn Einstein, Albert's granddaughter. He enlisted Paterniti, a freelance writer living in Maine, for the task. What ensues is a rare road story that gives equal weight to journey and destination. An expansion of an article published in Harper's magazine, this road-tale bears the classic elements of a spiritual questDthe brain a classic example of a character stand-in. But Paterniti so seamlessly weaves his stream-of-consciousness musings about everything from the theory of relativity to his own sputtering relationship with Harvey that the book becomes much more. Readers will hear echoes from American cultural historyDthe wanderlust of the Beats, the literary texture of Hemingway and the pastel-tinted surrealism of the Simpsons. It's impossible to put this book down. Paterniti has written a work at once entertaining, psychologically rich and emotionally sophisticated a feat as rare as, well, Einstein himself.
The true story of a road trip almost beyond belief - from the East Coast to the West Coast with the brain of Einstein himself, pickled in formaldehyde and riding in Tupperware, and with the doctor who had removed it during Einstein's autopsy. A fascinating book, easy to read, with interesting tidbits of information about Einstein's life and history along the way. The road trip itself is worth the ride...
Entertaining quirky travelogue about traveling across country with Einstein's brain. Interesting people are met along the way including the writer, William S. Burroughs. The book also provides insights into Einstein himself that were very interesting for someone like me who knew very little of the great man.
Joseph K. reviewed Driving Mr. Albert : A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain on
Helpful Score: 3
This is a crazy, but interesting true story of an author who meets up with the doctor who cuts Einstein's brain out at autopsy, and keeps it. This author coordinates meeting him, driving across the country with him to bring the brain to Einstein's daughter and to meet her. An uncharacteristically good book!
By reading the blurb on the jacket of this book I thought it would be somewhat humourous, and I wanted a light read. Unfortunaly it was not the humourous piece I thought it would be. I found myself continually waiting for the story to begin with this book, and in the end I never finished the book. But I did have a toddler and infant in the house, so maybe I needed someting lighter to read.
What a great road trip! A journalist, whose long-term relationship may or may not be dissolving, offers to drive across country in a rental car to deliver Einstein's brain (really, it's Einstein's brain!) to Einstein's granddaughter. It seems the pathologist who autopsied Einstein after his death may years ago couldn't bear to think of what might happen to his brain, so he took it home--and kept it. It has been with him longer than any of his 3 wives or even his kids, cost him jobs and relationships. Now he agrees that at least some of it should go to the closest living relative, Einstein's granddaughter--who isn't sure why he's bringing it or what she would do with the brain. An unimaginable road trip and a great story! Loved this book!
I was excited to read this book as the premise was interesting. A guy drives Einstein's pathologist across the country to deliver Einstein's brain to his daughter. Started off great, with interesting facts about Einstein and an interesting story about how the author met Thomas Harvey. But then it kind of fizzled and the stories and people they meet on their drive just are not enough to make the story exciting and keep me interested. It's really more about Michael Paterniti's journey to find himself and what he wants out of life.