The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman
A Novel

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Alan Lightman

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Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and educated at Princeton and the California Institute of Technology. His books include the novels Good Benito, The Diagnosis, and Reunion; a collection of essays and fables, Dance for Two; and several books on science. His latest, a collection of essays, A Sense of the Mysterious, will be published by Pantheon books in January 2005. He lives in Massachusetts.
Published March 13, 2001 by Vintage. 384 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Bill Chalmers is an eager and, as far as he knows, happy participant in what was once quaintly called the rat race but now, with the infusion of information—from cell phones, computers, etc.—is called the New Economy.

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The Guardian

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And he does it in such a way that every tiny detail of Bill Chalmer's loss and disaffection is like a line drawn in gentle erasure across the flesh and blood of the man at the centre of this otherwise terrible and potentially moving story.

Dec 09 2000 | Read Full Review of The Diagnosis: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Lightman's masterly study of early 21st-century angst is marred only slightly by a series of episodes from the trial and hemlock poisoning of Socrates, first called up as an e-lesson by Alex, then read by him and Melissa to Bill as he sinks further into desuetude.

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Entertainment Weekly

One morning, while frantically checking voicemails during his commute on Boston's T, fortyish Bill Chalmers suffers a bizarre breakdown: The stressed-out businessman completely forgets who he is and where he's going.

Oct 27 2000 | Read Full Review of The Diagnosis: A Novel

Austin Chronicle

This is a novel that angles, from its first few pages, to be a contemporary horror tale -- the Kafka brand of Metamorphosis, starting on a commuter train between the protagonist's suburban Boston home and downtown Boston office.

Dec 01 2000 | Read Full Review of The Diagnosis: A Novel

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