The Diagnosis: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
The Diagnosis: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
Email or call for price.
Not Available

Staff Reviews

Lightman uses touches of dark humor and echoes of Kafka while weaving a variety of storytelling techniques (from email messages to Socratic lessons) to capture the frenzy of the information age. The main character alternately experiences memory loss, numbness, and paralysis as he futilely pursues a “diagnosis,” instead of the latest incarnation of the American Dream.--Will

— From Will's Staff Favorites


From the bestselling author of Einstein’s Dreams comes this harrowing tale of one man's struggle to cope in a wired world, even as his own biological wiring short-circuits. As Boston’s Red Line shuttles Bill Chalmers to work one summer morning, something extraordinary happens. Suddenly, he can't remember which stop is his, where he works, or even who he is. The only thing he can remember is his corporate motto: the maximum information in the minimum time.

Bill’s memory returns, but a strange numbness afflicts him. As he attempts to find a diagnosis for his deteriorating illness, he descends into a nightmarish tangle of inconclusive results, his company’s manic frenzy, and his family’s disbelief. Ultimately, Bill discovers that he is fighting not just for his body but also for his soul.

About the Author

Alan Lightman lives in Boston.

Praise For…

“Original and grimly unsentimental…. A major accomplishment, written in austerely beautiful prose.”–The Washington Post Book World

“A funny, troubling story about our culture’s devotion to technology
at the expense of humanity…. Clever and wise, a rare combination.”–San Francisco Chronicle

“Although the world around Bill ‘is diminished to the most feeble red light,’ the novel, at last, burns brightly.”–The New Yorker

“A searing vision of our helter-skelter and spiritually debilitating technocracy.”–The Chicago Tribune
Product Details
ISBN: 9780375725500
ISBN-10: 0375725504
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: February 19th, 2002
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries