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.
I love any book where the main character drives across the country. Add Albert Einstein's brain to the story and it's fascinating. I finished it in less than a day.
Fascinating history of Einstein, coupled with humor and compassion. Love it!