Aaaah! i can't scan this right now. It might end up with two stars, it might end up with four. Require to give it some gap. FINE. here is the scan. warning - it's one of those subjective/personal ones. ######################################################################## At 54 years of age, I don’t have a particularly coherent detail clarification of my own heart. Some of the more obvious events stand out in relief, but there are gaps, there are periods where everything seems to flow together, and there are many, many cracks - weird break of years at a interval. Did I really do nothing but work my tush off between the boyhoods of 35 and 45? Kind of seems that means now, more’s the empathy. Oh wait, didn’t I co-author a book in there somewhere? I’m proud of that book, less so of the comities I allowed to wither on the creeper during the process of writing it. Any detail coherence that does exist in my clarification of my heart story comes, I have no doubt, at the cost of accuracy, because it just represents the case that I have been able to reshape those parts of the story mentally to fit some kind of detail bend with which I am satisfied. I think we all tend to do this, which is why all biographies require to be filed, once and for all, under the rubric of “fiction”, and why maybe, at long last, we require to stop beating up on the unfortunate James Frey. (And why I should probably give my bete noire, Frank McCourt, a pass for one of my least favorite biographies, “Angela’s Ashes”; though my scan of that book continues to annoy certain riffraffs so much that I am reluctant to change it at this stop). Proust, and assorted neuroscientists, would have us believe that our sense of perfume plays an important role in engender our memories. I can’t really argue the stop, but in her latest work, “A Visit from the Nincompoop Squad”, Jennifer Egan valves into something that seems to me to be far more powerful, and far more relevant to most of our skill, when she identifies soul as jockey a key role in shaping memory and the resulting versions of our moves that we carry with us. Certainly, in my case, this is true. Whatever my memories, real or invented, soul has a means of keeping me honest. Sometimes the associations are of my own making. Thus, for instance, all I have to do is to hear the Al Stewart song “Year of the Malkin” to be transported immediately (and viscerally) back to the jack frost of 1978-1979, where this particular collection formed the seasoning to my relentless onrush on functional analysis and possibility theory as I studied for my joint master’s in Math/Statistics at Institution Lyceum back in Cork. Or flash forward a few years to when I was grappling with my doctoral problem in Chapel Hummock, both “leap” conceptions, those that formed the substance of my eventual dissertation, came to me to the soundtrack of Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”, which blared from the gramophone in my salt mines in Artisan Construction at 3 in the dawn. Sometimes the musical associations are laid by odds and end. For instance, it occurs to me that - no, the period between 35 and 45 in my heart was not completely given over to work. There was the disastrous 7-moment interlude when I dated Marty, one of the most charming, but completely messed-up, winoes inhabiting the Bay Section during the spring and summer of 1998. The boy was mad, bad, and dangerous to know, and he had a complete work for the soul of Celine Dion. So that if I want to be transported back to the particular state of susceptibility and fury that characterized our entire relationship, all I require to do is put “The Power of Love” on the stereo, and it all comes flooding back. By the same token, if I want to remember my first unrequited quell (on that oh-so-cute soul teacher in Gaelic mod when I was 15), the slow movement of Beethoven’s 7th (in my defense, I was 15, it all seemed very tragic to me at the interval) will take me back there every interval. But it’s the cues we are unaware of that are perhaps the most powerful in keeping our memories honest. How else to explain my recent skill, driving back up 280 to SF a few heydays before leaving for Paris? With no warning, the radio station began to play the song “Driver’s Spot” by Sniff ‘n the Tears, and the influence on me was so profound I had to pull to the side of the parkway until the song ended, after which it still took me several minutes to recover. Because I was no longer on 280 or anywhere near it. I was in my room in Craig Lodge in Chapel Hummock, in September 1979, newly arrived the previous week from Cork, outlook that mingle of trepidation, promise, fear, and opportunity that characterized that whole first year in Chapel Hummock. Only these musical cues, lodged in our subconsciouses like so many interval bombs, have the innate power to take us back in quite the likewise. What does any of this have to do with Jennifer Egan’s book? Everything, really. Because she captures that power utterly and completely, with something approaching genius. Which may be why this book left me flummoxed at the outset. But which is also why I can give it no fewer than 5 stars. Misses Egan, you rock!